The dismal 5% turnout for the City Council District 2 special election held on Dec. 9 was no real surprise. Special elections called to fill vacated seats attract few voters and a looming Jan. 6 special election to fill two legislative seats poses an even greater challenge as officials and candidates work to convince voters to turn out over the holidays.
Bexar County voters have two important state races on the special election ballot Jan. 6, a date set only Monday by Gov. Rick Perry. The special elections will fill the Texas House District 123 state representative seat vacated by Rep. Mike Villarreal, who is running for San Antonio mayor, and the Texas Senate District 26 state senate seat vacated by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, who also has entered the mayor's race.
The two districts overlap, so many eligible voters will cast ballots in both races. Do you live in those districts? It's easy to find your districts and elected representatives. Just click on Who Represents Me? and put in your street address and zip code.
Early voting is likely to be off, too, because of the dates.: Dec. 29-31 and Jan. 2-3. Click here to select one of the 14 early voting locations. Registered voters have until Dec. 26 to request a mail-in ballot, an increasingly popular mode of voting. If you prefer to go the polls on Special Election Day, visit the Bexar County Elections page that will direct you to your polling site. Just click on the link and then put in your address.
Both races offer voters a choice of candidates and promise to be competitive.
Texas House District 123
Former District 1 City Councilmember Diego Bernal resigned his city seat in mid-November to launch his campaign for Villarreal's former seat. His VoteDiego website offers voters his positions on a number of issues, ranging from education to civil rights.
Melissa Aguillon, a small business owner and the principal of Aguillon & Associates, a public relations and digital marketing firm, also is running. Her VoteAguillon website displays her digital media acumen, offering videos, her Twitter feed, Facebook feed, etc.
Former District 5 Councilmember Walter Martinez (1985-92) and the Texas House District 119 representative for a single term (1983-85) is making a run to regain elected office after a two-decade-plus hiatus that began with a failed bid to win a seat on Commissioners Court. Martinez apparently does not have a campaign website.
Republican candidate Nunzio Previtera, with Integrity Insurance Agency in San Antonio, jumped into the race this week. His campaign website lists his support for small business, job growth and his pro-life position.
Libertarian candidate Roger Gary, who apparently sought his party's nomination for president in 2012, also is running. He does not have a campaign website.
Click here to see a map of District 123, which extends from the Southside through the central city and north in Castle Hills and part of the Northside.
Texas Senate District 26
This vacant seat has attracted two strong and respected state representatives among other candidates.
Sylvia Romo, the former Bexar County tax assessor-collector who served two terms in the Texas House in the 190s and who lost a Democratic primary race against U.S. Rep lloyd Doggett in 2012, is looking to regain elected office.
Converse Mayor Al Saurez also is running for the seat as a long shot contender.
Click here to see a map of District 26, which covers much of San Antonio's urban core, extends north to Shavano Park and Hollywood park, and west to Loop 1604.
*Featured/top image: A "vote here" sign points potential voters in the right direction at Bowden Elementary School. Photo by Scott Ball.