Early Voting Underway In Southeast Texas Special Election

Barbara Schwarz
January 21, 2020 - 6:14 am
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Voters in District 28 south of Houston will choose between Democratic Eliz Markowitz and Republican Gary Gates to replace retired Republican John Zerwas.   

The election is January 28th. Rice University political scientist Mark Jones there are actually three special elections, but the other two are widely expected to stay in Democratic hands.  

District 28, however, is different.  "Democrats have the prospect to flip a Republican held seat, and if they're able to do so that would suggest their odds of flipping the entre Texas House in November are brighter than some would say."

He says if Democrats take control of the Texas House "then they'll prevent Republicans from having carte blanche in redistricting in 2021.  If Republican don't have carte blanch in redistricting in 2021 and can't create tailor-made districts, then that would lead to probably five to six fewer Republican seats in the US House of representatives."

Markowitz is backed by Joe Biden and Beto O'Rourke. 

Gates has the endorsement of Governor Greg Abbott.  He has run for office, for both state house and statewide office six time and never won.  He has lost four Republican primaries and one special election in a safe Republican district.  

Jones says "Gates has quite a bit of political baggage because as he's run already five Republican campaigns, he's  been attacked in those by some of his political rivals and they've brought up issues that the Markowitz campaing has brought up."

He says Gates spent close to a million dollars of his own money to get into the runoff.  In the primary, Markowitz won 39% of the vote and Gates won 29%.

The winner will have to run again in November.