Texas Senate candidate Sarah Eckhardt discusses campaign evolution during coronavirus with Texas Tribune


AUSTIN (Texas Tribune) — Former County Judge and current Texas Senate candidate Sarah Eckhardt spoke to the Texas Tribune about her campaign and how it evolved amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Eckhardt, a Democrat, became Travis County’s first woman county judge in 2015 and presides over the county’s commissioners court. In March, she declared her candidacy for Senate District 14, left vacant by retiring Sen. Kirk Watson, a Democrat.

She spoke with the Texas Tribune’s State political reporter Cassi Pollock.

Eckhardt initially resigned as Travis County judge because of a requirement under the Texas Constitution to resign from other elected positions before running for the Legislature. However, she pushed back her last day on the job to help local officials respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This pandemic has unfolded very quickly,” Eckhardt told the Tribune. “So, as a public servant, I need to put my talents where they are most needed right now, and that’s in helping my community weather this storm.”

The special election to fill the seat — Watson was set to face reelection in 2022 — was originally scheduled for early May, but Gov. Greg Abbott postponed the election due to the pandemic.

At the time, Abbott’s office said the postponement “is another step the state is taking to protect health and mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” noting that it was consulting with the secretary of state’s office “on additional strategies to ensure public health in relation to any upcoming election.”

Eckhardt faces a challenge for the seat from state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, who also declared his candidacy in March. Eckhardt spent eight years as an assistant Travis County attorney and was elected to represent Precinct 2 on the county commissioners court in 2006. Eckhardt also served as vice chair of membership on the Texas Conference of Urban Counties’ board of directors.

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