AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two Democrats will likely head to a runoff election to decide who will replace retired Texas Sen. Kirk Watson.
Six candidates vied to fill the seat Watson vacated after he retired in April to become the first dean of the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs. Former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt received 49.7% of the vote (or 59,267 votes) and State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez received 33.8% of the vote (or 40,384 votes) and are headed to a runoff because neither received more than 50%.
There are still votes to be counted. A spokesperson from the Travis County elections office said as of Wednesday afternoon, they had received roughly 2,000 mail-in ballots that had yet to be counted. An unknown number of overseas and military ballots will be processed later in the week as well. The spokesperson did not know how many of those ballots are from voters in District 14.
Texas Election Code requires a runoff for a special election to fill a vacancy in the legislature to be held between 70 and 77 days after the final canvass of votes. That would put the timeframe for the District 14 runoff in late September or early October.
The special election coincided with the primary runoff Tuesday.
“Whether we win with or without a runoff, I am looking forward to serving the people of Senate District 14,” Eckhardt’s campaign said in a statement.
The other Democrats who were vying for the District 14 seat included two Republicans — former Austin City Council member Don Zimmerman (13.0%) and former prosecutor Waller Thomas Burns (1.2%) — Libertarian candidate and former Lago Vista City Council member Pat Dixon (1.1%) and Independent candidate and Austin physician Jeff Ridgeway (1.2%).
The special election was initially scheduled for May but pushed back to Tuesday July 14 because of the coronavirus.