Austin, TX - Eight mostly experienced candidates have filed to replace District 19 Senator Carlos Uresti who resigned after a jury convicted him on 11 felonies involving money laundering and fraud.
The list of candidates includes both Democrats and Republicans who have either served in office or competed in elections within this district over the years.
Frontrunners to win the Special Election of July 31 have to be Pete Gallego and Roland Gutierrez. Gallego served two decades in the Texas House and one term as a US Congressman representing most of this district. Gutierrez is a sitting State Representative from San Antonio and has been preparing to make this race for a long time.
Also jumping in before deadline on Monday was Uresti's brother, Thomas, who lost his reelection bid to the Texas House in March. A fourth Democrat is Charlie Urbina Jones of Poteet who ran for US Congressman some years back.
Three Republicans making the race are Pete Flores, Jesse "Jay" Alaniz and Carlos Antonio Raymond. Flores challenged Uresti last time out and got 41% of the vote in the general election; Alaniz is a former Harlandale school board president; and Raymond lost in the March primary for the District 117 state rep position.
The eighth candidate is Libertarian Tony Valdivia, a senior reporting analyst at USAA Bank in San Antonio.
Special elections are free-for-alls and anything can happen giving longshot candidates a legitimate chance of prevailing.
The candidates had just five days to file and the first round of the campaign is just over a month long. If no candidate cracks the 50% mark of votes the top two finishers advance to a runoff. Early voting begins July 16.