By Emma Platoff
State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, a Houston Democrat likely on her way to Congress in the fall, has announced formal plans to resign after months of speculation about the timing of her decision.
When Garcia won a crowded congressional primary election in March, all but guaranteeing her election to represent a Democratic-leaning district in November, she immediately set off speculation about when she would resign her seat in the Texas Senate. The timing of the special election to replace her will have important implications for the upper chamber’s Democratic caucus, given that a seat usually held by the minority is up for grabs.
Several candidates have already lined up for Garcia’s seat, including two local Democrats currently serving in the Texas House: state Reps. Ana Hernandez and Carol Alvarado. Hernandez announced hopes to fill the “potential vacancy” just 12 hours after Garcia’s primary win, and shortly after, Alvarado posted a carefully crafted three-minute campaign video.
In her resignation letter, Garcia asked Gov. Greg Abbott to call the special election to replace her for Nov. 6, the next uniform election date. But he could call it earlier if he chooses.
“The people of Senate District 6 deserve someone who will continue that fight in the Texas Senate on day one of the 86th Legislative Session,” Garcia wrote in a letter to Abbott. A Nov. 6 election, she said, “will ensure continued representation and save Harris County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Though Garcia said her resignation won’t be effective until January, the Texas Election Code states that, for the purposes of calling a special election, a vacancy occurs on the date the resignation is accepted by the appropriate authority or on the eighth day after the date of its receipt by the authority” — in this case, Abbott, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Moments ago I submitted a letter to @GregAbbott_TX informing him of my intent to resign from #txlege on 1/2/19. It’s been an unbelievable honor to fight for the people of #SD6. I urge the Governor to call a November 6th election so #SD6 will have representation in 86th Session pic.twitter.com/exUwD7eJyy
— Sylvia R. Garcia (@SenatorSylvia) July 23, 2018
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.