Another candidate signaled plans to enter the race for Senate District 19 on Wednesday, about a month after the San Antonio Democrat who currently holds the seat was convicted of 11 felonies.
Former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, a Democrat, has filed paperwork to declare a treasurer in a campaign for the position. He’ll make a formal announcement to run in the coming weeks, he confirmed Wednesday morning.
“After receiving numerous calls to action, and talking with my family, I have taken the necessary steps with the Texas Ethics Commission to form my campaign to represent the people of the Senate District 19,” he said. “I’ve been overwhelmed with the support pouring out from this entire community.”
Gallego had been rumored to be a likely candidate for the race, which so far includes state Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio).
Uresti can keep the seat until he exhausts the appeals process, but multiple people and political groups, including the members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, have called for him to resign. As of now, there is no election in Senate District 19 set until 2020, but the governor would call a special election if Uresti resigned before then. The two-decade veteran of the Texas Legislature is set for sentencing in June and a trial on separate bribery charges this fall.
Both Gallego and Gutierrez were quick to condemn Uresti in the hours immediately following the verdict.
“When any public official is accused & then convicted by a jury of a felony, we all lose,” Gallego wrote on Facebook. “Our democracy is hurt. Our trust is weakened.”
In announcing his bid earlier this month, Gutierrez acknowledged that there’s a lot “up in the air” in the district, but that whether the next election arrives “in 2020 or sooner, we are ready, willing and able to be your next senator.” Gutierrez has already racked up a list of endorsements.
Gallego represented the 23rd Congressional District from 2013 to 2015. He lost re-election to Helotes Republican Will Hurd in 2014 and unsuccessfully sought to reclaim the seat in 2016. He considered another run for the 23rd District last year, but ultimately decided against it.
Before first running for Congress, Gallego served for over two decades in the Texas House. During that time, he represented an area of far West Texas spreading from the Del Rio area to just outside El Paso.