As the legislative session approaches, the Republican majority in the House of Representaives is 80-69, with one seat yet to be decided. That seat was occupied by the late Glenda Dawson, whose death from a brief illness occurred too late for her name to be replaced on the ballot. The likelihood is that the seat will remain in Republican hands. The district, which consists of Matagorda County and northeast Brazoria County, was drawn in 2002 by the Republican-dominated Legislative Redistricting Board to achieve the defeat of longtime Democratic incumbent Tom Uher of Bay City, which it did: Dawson defeated Uher by a 57-43 margin. She was unopposed for reelection in 2004 and posthumously beat Democrat Anthony DiNovo in November, 60-40.
The special election to replace Dawson is set for December 19. Republicans typically do a better job of turning out their voters in special elections than Democrats do, and so this ought to be a routine Republican win. Still, a few quirks could make the race more interesting than it looks to be on paper. The field includes three Republicans and one Democrat (DiNovo is running again). Party affiliation does appear on the ballot. If there is a runoff, supporters of the losing Republican candidate would have little incentitive to return to the polls. It would be a huge upset if Republicans lost the seat, but stranger things have happened.
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