Following Saturday’s results, Laura Thompson and Lou Miller appeared to be headed toward a runoff election this summer to fill Ruth Jones McClendon’s unexpired term as the district representative, meaning that voters in Texas House District 120 will be asked to return to the poll again this year to choose their state representative.
Thompson and Miller placed first and second respectively in Saturday’s special election, called by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, following McClendon’s resignation on Jan. 31, after nearly 20 years of her representing San Antonio’s Eastside in the state house.
According to Bexar County election officials, because no candidate received 50% of the vote, a runoff would be held in late June or early July to determine who will spend the rest of 2016 as the interim representative of a heavily Democatic legislative district.
Thompson, who filed as an independent, received nearly 33% of the vote, while Miller, a Democrat, got 28%. Two other Democrats, LaTronda Darnell and Chris Dawkins, collected 23% and 15%.
This is only the second run for public office for Thompson, a publisher, certified mediator, and a public involvement and community outreach consultant. She lost a bid for the District 10 City Council seat in 2011. Thompson said she will spend much time communicating with constituents, ensuring they stay atop issues vital to District 120.
“I think it’s very important, filling this seat, because there’s lots going on in the district and the city. There’s lots of growth, and it’s important to keep track of everything that is going on,” Thompson said.
Miller, an insurance agent, could not be reached for comments at the time of publication. Miller is a former VIA Metropolitan Transit trustee and former aide to Mayor Ivy Taylor.
May 24 will feature a runoff between Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, founder and superintendent of the George Gervin Academy (and sister of the Spurs legend), and former City Councilman Mario Salas.
Salas and Gervin-Hawkins were the two top vote-getters in the March 1 Democratic primary. The runoff victor will be unopposed this November.
Voter turnout was a little under 3% total for this and a handful of regular and special municipal and school district elections held around the San Antonio area on Saturday. Thompson said she spent about $4,000 on her campaign.
Thompson said local media could have helped to distinguish between Saturday’s special election to fill McClendon’s unexpired term and the May 24 runoff. Now, an untold amount of additional money will have to be spent to hold the runoff between Thompson and Miller.
“If there had been more media reports about the differences between these elections, a lot more people would’ve known about today’s election and come out, and there would’ve been less confusion,” Thompson said.
The race to succeed McClendon has had its share of controversies since the longtime legislator announced her resignation. Darnell, Salas and another Democrat, Art Hall, all had been questioned for having not met district residency criteria prior to the March 1 primary. Darnell placed fifth in the primary, followed by Lou Miller.
After Darnell, a former legislative director, filed for Saturday’s special election, Dawkins, an Internet marketer, threatened litigation in the event Darnell were to win Saturday.
Top Image: State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon (left) speaks with state Rep. Myra Crownover on the legislature floor. Photo courtesy of McClendon staff / District 120.