Representative Leo Pacheco present at the HISD board meeting on June 13, 2019.
Leo Pacheco stepped down from his District 118 Texas House seat in August to take a job at San Antonio College. Credit: Stephanie Marquez / San Antonio Report

Gov. Greg Abbott has picked Sept. 28 as the date of the special election to replace former state Rep. Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio).

The candidate filing deadline is Monday, and early voting starts Sept. 20. Pacheco resigned effective Aug. 19 to take a job with San Antonio College.

House District 118 is anchored in San Antonio and covers parts of Bexar County south and east of the city. It is a Democratic-friendly district, though Republicans have already made clear they are eyeing it in the special election.

John Lujan, the Republican who previously held the seat for a brief period, has announced a campaign, as has the 2020 GOP nominee for the seat, Adam Salyer. In endorsing Lujan last week, the Associated Republicans of Texas said the special election is “an early opportunity for Republicans to share our values and win new voters in South Texas.”

Republicans are newly targeting the region after President Joe Biden underperformed throughout it last year.

On the Democratic side of the special election, at least three candidates have emerged: Katie Farias, a member of the Southside Independent School District Board of Managers; Desi Martinez, a prominent trial attorney; and Frank Ramirez, former zoning and planning director for the city of San Antonio.

Pacheco has endorsed Ramirez to fill the seat, as have two San Antonio City Council members, Adriana Rocha Garcia and Jalen McKee-Rodriguez.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune, a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government, and statewide issues.

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Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune

Patrick Svitek is the primary political correspondent for The Texas Tribune and editor of The Blast, the Tribune's subscription-only daily newsletter for political insiders.