A political dispute could leave 850,000 Houstonians without representation in the Texas Senate.
Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University, says District 6 Democrat Sylvia Garcia submitted a letter of "intent" to resign from her Texas Senate seat to Gov. Greg Abbott. But Abbott refuses to acknowledge the resignation unless she officially resigns.
"He would like to see her say ‘I resign effectively January 2,' so that there's no doubt about it," Jones says.
With both sides still at odds, they missed the deadline to put Garcia's Senate seat on the ballot in the November general election.
Jones says it's unlikely that Garcia is delaying her official resignation to protect her seat in case she doesn't win her race for U.S. Congress.
"She's a lock to win in that race, in CD-29. That's a dark-blue district where the Democrat is a sure thing to win," Jones says.
Jones says it is possible Garcia is delaying an official resignation in order to force a special election later in November for two of her likely successors, Anna Hernandez and Carol Alvarado. Both are currently running for re-election to the Texas House of Representatives, but if either loses their race, they'd be able to run for Garcia's Senate seat later in the fall.
Jones says Abbott's denial of Garcia's resignation could be an effort to keep her senate seat open ahead of the legislative session in the spring.
"By delaying this election into November or December, he insures that there's one fewer democrat for at least the first couple months of the session," Jones says.
Written by Caroline Covington.