Early Turnout Light in District 6
Early voting has wrapped up in the special election for Texas State Senate District 6, and Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart can only describe the turnout as weak. "We had almost 50 percent (turnout) in November in that district," he tells KTRH. "Well, this is gonna be around six percent turnout." A total of 8,245 ballots were cast in person and via mail during the early voting period, which ran from January 9-22. Tuesday's final day of early voting brought the most in-person voters, 975, to the seven early voting locations. The district, which covers much of Houston's east side plus parts of Baytown and Pasadena, has a majority Hispanic population and tends to lean Democratic.
Eight candidates are vying for the seat formerly held by the late Mario Gallegos, who died just weeks before Election Day last fall and then was re-elected posthumously. The ballot includes five Democrats -- state Rep. Carol Alvarado, former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, local community leader Joaquin Martinez, businessman Rudulfo M. "Rudy" Reyes, and real estate broker Susan Delgado. The two Republicans in the race are R.W. Bray, who lost to Gallegos in November, and Dorothy Olmos, who ran for the state education board last fall. The other candidate is from the Green Party, local community organizer Maria Selva.
Election Day is this Saturday, Jan. 26th, but if no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, the top two will go to a runoff. Stanart says with this many candidates in the race, a runoff is "probable." A runoff election would likely take place in March, but the date would have to be set by Governor Rick Perry. In the meantime, District 6 voters are encouraged to get out to the polls on Election Day. "We need more voters...come vote," says Stanart.