Five candidates filed to run in a special election for the Texas House seat vacated by State Rep. Leo Pacheco (D–San Antonio), who resigned last month to take a teaching job at San Antonio College.

Three Democrats and two Republicans will compete to replace Pacheco in House District 118, which includes part of San Antonio and areas south and east of the city in Bexar County.

Candidate filing ended Monday, and early voting starts next Monday for the September 28 election.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced the “expedited” special election just last week.

The election is a jungle primary in which candidates from all parties compete. If no one receives over 50 percent of the vote, then the top two candidates—regardless of party affiliation—advance to a runoff.

District voters favor Democrats, but special elections are unpredictable.

Republican John Lujan won a special election for HD 118 in January 2016. The retired San Antonio firefighter and business owner then lost two successive general elections for the seat, the last one to Pacheco in 2018. With encouragement from House Speaker Dade Phelan, Lujan is making one more run.

Another Republican, Adam Salyer, is running for the seat a second time. The businessman and former Universal City council member lost to Pacheco in the 2020 general election.

Three Democrats are in the race to replace Pacheco:

Katie Farias is a Southside ISD school board member and the daughter-in-law of former State Rep. Joe Farias (D–San Antonio), who held the HD 118 seat before Lujan. She’d planned to run in the 2022 primary before Pacheco announced his resignation.

Frank Ramirez recently served as San Antonio’s zoning and planning director, and before that worked as chief of staff for then-HD 118 State Rep. Tomas Uresti (D–San Antonio). Pacheco endorsed Ramirez.

Desi Martinez, a personal injury attorney, is a political newcomer.

The special election winner will serve out Pacheco’s unexpired term, which runs through January 2023.

Early voting starts September 20. Election Day is Tuesday, September 28.

Voting information is on the Bexar County Elections website.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.


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