Former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia and current state Representative Carol Alvarado have each reported spending more than a million dollars. One of those Democrats will take over for the late Senator Mario Gallegos.
Brandon Rottinghaus, associate professor of Political Science at the University of Houston, says whoever wins on Saturday will have a lock on the district for a very long time.
“I think that initial investment in the campaign funds to try to secure the seat right away is likely to be something that pays off and get that person the seat, more or less, for their life.”
Garcia earned more votes than Alvarado in last month’s election. Rottinghaus predicts Saturday’s results will be close. But he gives a slight edge to Garcia.
“Her campaign and her get-out-the-vote strategy have been a bit better. And in a very low-turnout election as we’re likely to see, that little edge can matter a great deal.”
Overall turnout for the special election was slightly more than 5.5 percent.
Rottinghaus says the runoff likely won’t be higher than that. He says the lack of major policy differences between Alvarado and Garcia fueled a campaign that turned negative and personal.