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Early voting in third District 47 race underway

The nine candidates vying to fill a vacated congressional seat in Texas’s District 27, which stretches from Corpus Christi to Bastrop, include Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and a Liberterian. Staff illustration

Early voting began Wednesday, June 13 in yet another election to fill the congressional seat left vacant by former Rep. Blake Farenthold. Voters will choose among nine candidates vying to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives until the term expires in January 2019 — about three to six months depending on the outcome of the June 30 election. Early voting runs until June 26.

Gov. Greg Abbott called the unusual emergency special election to fill the position because he said much of the district, which covers all or parts of 13 counties from Corpus Christi to Bastrop in Central Texas, had suffered from Hurricane Harvey. Congressional representation is important to help keep resources coming to the area, even if for a few months.

Whether the newly elected official serves three or six months will be determined by the outcome of the special election. Unless one of the nine candidates receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the race will result in a runoff election, which won’t happen until Sept. 28. Once a winner is determined, he or she will be immediately sworn in and begin serving.

Meanwhile, Republican Michael Cloud faces Democrat Eric Holguin in the Nov. 6 mid-term election for a full two-year term in office. The winner of that race will be sworn in Jan. 3, 2019, becoming a freshman member of the 116th Congress.

This will the the third election for District 27 as both the Republican and Democratic parties had to stage runoff elections in May to determine their final candidates. All four of the candidates in that runoff are on the ballot for the special emergency election.

Besides Cloud and Holguin, the candidates in the special emergency election are Raul “Roy” Barrera (Democrat), Bech Bruun (Republican), Judith Cutright (Independent), Marty Perez (Republican), Christopher Suprun (Independent), Daniel Tinus (Libertarian), and Mike Westergren (Democrat). Although party affiliations are listed on the ballot, this is not a party primary.

Farenthold resigned in disgrace after the House Ethics Committee released information that rulings in two impending investigations would be against him. One ruling was expected to ask the four-term congressman to repay $84,000 in taxpayer money used to settle a sexual harassment claim against him. The second ruling concerned having staff members work on his re-election campaigns, which is illegal.

Polls for the emergency special election will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. June 13-26 and again on June 30. Registered voters in Aransas, Bastrop, Caldwell, Calhoun, Gonzales, Jackson, Lavaca, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, and Wharton counties may vote, whether or not those voters participated in any other election for District 27.

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