The Future Of Mario Gallegos’ Senate Seat

The passing of State Senator Mario Gallegos leaves a lot of questions about who will represent Senate District 6 in the future. Gallegos is expected to win re-election because it's too late to remove his name from the ballot


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State Senate District 6 leans heavily Democratic, which means although Mario Gallegos has died, the election will likely go to him posthumously through straight party voting.

If Gallegos does win, Governor Rick Perry will have to call a special election to fill the seat.

Rice University Political Science Professor Mark Jones says he could do that very quickly and get someone new elected by the end of the year.

“Of if he chose to drag the process out, he could likely delay the arrival of the new senator until late April, when the session is almost over. It ends at the end of May.”

Jones says the outcome of another election could affect what happens in Senate District 6.  

Up in Fort Worth, there’s a heated contest between incumbent State Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat, and Republican challenger State Representative Mark Shelton.

The outcome of that race will affect the balance of power in the state senate.

“Things become very interesting if Davis loses and her opponent, the Republican Mark Shelton wins, because then there are very strong incentives for Governor Perry to delay this process as long as possible so that Republicans will have a two-thirds majority in the senate for as long a time as possible.”

On the other hand, if Davis wins reelection, the Democrats will already have enough votes to block legislation and there would be no political advantage to delaying an election in District 6.  

Carol Alvarado and Sylvia Garcia are considered frontrunners as candidates to win the seat whenever the Governor does call an election, although neither one has announced intentions to run.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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