9 candidates in District 27 special election
Nine candidates have filed for an emergency special election set for Saturday, June 30, to fill the congressional seat recently vacated by former Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi). The four-term congressman resigned April 6. He had announced in December he would not seek re-election, although he had already filed to run.
The long list of District 27 candidates include two Republicans and two Democrats who will be on primary runoff ballots May 22. The winner of each of those primaries will face off Nov. 6 in the mid-term election. The person elected then will serve a full, two-year term beginning Jan. 3, when the 116th Congress is sworn in.
The winner of the the emergency special election will begin to serve almost immediately after election day but would have to step down in January, unless, of course, the same person wins all three elections. In a further complication, if none of the nine in the emergency special election receives 50.1 percent of the vote on June 30, a runoff election will be held Sept. 28.
On ballots in both the runoffs on May 22 and the emergency special election on June 30 are Democrats Raul “Roy” Barrera and Eric Holguin and Republicans Bech Bruun and Michael Cloud. Joining these four on the special election ballot, which is not split into parties although party affiliations are listed, are Judith Cutright (Independent), Marty Perez (Republican), Christopher Suprun (Independent), Daniel Tinus (Libertarian), and Mike Westergren (Democrat).
Cutright is a communications consultant in Corpus Christi. Suprun works as a paramedic in Dallas. He is able to run because there is no requirement that a candidate live in the district he or she would represent. Dallas is not in District 27, which stretches from Corpus Christi on the Gulf Coast to Bastrop in Central Texas.
Perez lives in Corpus Christi, where he works as a physican. Westergren, a former judge, is an attorney in Corpus Christi. Tinus, a libertarian, is from Bay City, where he teaches.
As far as the four candidates in both the special and runoff elections, Barrera is a special deputy working in courthouse security in Corpus Christi. Bruun is a Corpus Christi attorney. Micheal Cloud owns Bright Idea Media in Victoria, while Holguin works in public affairs in Corpus Christi.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called for the special election after Farenthold resigned, demanding the scandal-ridden former representative pay election expenses. Farenthold responded with a firm “no” in a long letter listing his accomplishments in office.
Farenthold first announced he was not running for re-election after it was revealed that a little-known congressional office had paid $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim against him. Farenthold said he was not guilty of the charge but agreed to the settlement. He at first said he would repay the money. Other charges of a toxic workplace environment surfaced, leading to his ultimate withdrawal from the race.
After he learned the House Ethics Committee was about to rule against him in two investigations, he stepped down from office. The committee has no authority over anyone not an active member of congress.
Early voting in the emergency special election will be held from June 13-26. Polls will be open on those days and on election day from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. 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 have participated in any of the other elections for District 27.
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