Hours after Harris County was granted its request to hold a special August election for a flood bond, the county’s Republican Party executive committee voted to oppose the special election in favor of one on a uniform election date.

Early on Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott sent notification to county officials granting their request for the special election on August 25. The proposed bond amount is likely to reach as high as $2.5 billion. The only one to strongly urge holding the election on a uniform date was the lone Democrat commissioner, Rodney Ellis, though he ultimately succumbed to the pressure of colleagues and voted in favor of sending the request.

Texas Scorecard wrote about the proposal citing the very real concerns of voter fatigue and a lower-than-average turnout. Not only are they seeking to hold the election on a non-uniform election date, but even worse, it’s one at the tail end of summer — a week before Labor Day weekend, when many families are still on vacation. A minute number of voters could decide to put millions of county residents on the hook for a bond simply because the court chose not to wait roughly seven weeks to hold the election on a uniform general election date.

“As Republicans, we want to maximize voter engagement in local issues. These special elections are intended to do the exact opposite,” said Scott Bowen, Chairman of Senate District 11, and supporter of the resolution. “This bond should be on the November ballot, with everything else.”

County officials are concerned about running their reelection campaigns while simultaneously campaigning for a bond. “If I have to campaign for a bond then I don’t run for reelection,” said Emmett in commissioners court. The Harris County Republican Party, which lost every election in 2016, is hoping Emmett’s popularity in the county helps stave off the “blue wave” come November and ushers in a new class of Republican down-ballot candidates.

The executive committee disagrees with the merits of that politically-driven decision.

Whereas, Harris County Commissioners Court has announced that they’ve chosen the date of Saturday August 25th, for their major Bond Election,


Whereas, These actions are not consistent with uniform election law to hold elections, which should be in November and on the General Election Ballot for those voting.


Whereas, These alternative dates violate Plank #178 of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) 2016 Platform, which is in force today, for such important bond and tax elections

The resolution calls for HCRP Chairman Paul Simpson to send the resolution to the governor and all members of the county commissioners court within the next five days.

The Republican Party of Texas platform explicitly calls for elections to be held on uniform election dates, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Harris County Republican Party is seeking to hold its Republican elected officials accountable.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.