Trey Martinez Fischer

AUSTIN — Special runoff elections on Feb. 17 will choose a new member of the Texas Senate and new representatives for two House districts.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday set the election date for the last three open seats in the Texas Legislature. The biggest prize is the San Antonio Senate seat that Democrat Leticia Van de Putte has held since 1999.

Shelley Kofler / TPR News

In a packed room at Cha-Cha’s Restaurant, Rep. Jose Menendez told supporters not to worry about his distant, second-place finish in the special election to replace Sen. Leticia Van de Putte in the Texas Senate.  He did well enough to put him into a runoff election with the front-runner, Trey Martinez Fischer, who like Menendez is a Democratic state representative.

David Martin Davies

The special election for State Senate District 26 will be heading to a run-off. Current office holder Senator Leticia Van de Putte is stepping down to run for mayor of San Antonio. 

With five candidates on the ballot Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (HD-116) had the largest share of the votes with 43%. Martinez Fischer said he was happy with the results although he was denied the clear majority needed to avoid a run-off.

Shelley Kofler / TPR News

The candidates’ personalities have become a key issue in tomorrow’s Senate District 26 election.

Five names are on the ballot to replace Leticia Van de Putte who is leaving the legislature to run for San Antonio Mayor. State representatives Jose Menendez and Trey Martinez Fischer, who are both San Antonio Democrats, have emerged as front-runners.

Ryan E. Poppe

As San Antonio Democratic state senator, Leticia Van De Putte, considers her next career move, other firebrand Democratic lawmakers have already begun announcing their interest in filling her spot in the state senate. 

Sen. Van De Putte says she isn’t sure whether she’ll run in the San Antonio mayoral election in 2015, but it might be interesting to note how this potential move might affect senate Democrats during the upcoming legislative session.