The Star-Telegram is reporting today that Forth Worth officials asked Governor Perry to set the runoff for the race to fill Anna Mowery’s unexpired term on December 11, the same day as a city council runoff election, to avoid the expense of holding two elections. Instead, Perry set the legislative runoff on December 18, presumably because (1) there is some overlap in the districts and (2) a same-day election could raise Democratic turnout because the two candidates in the council runoff, a nonpartisan election, are both considered to be Democrats. Perry’s maneuver failed, however, when the city council moved the local election to the 18th.

Two things to keep an eye on:

* Can Democrats pull off the upset? They’re hoping that Dan Barrett, who led the nonpartisan election on November 6, can defeat Republican Mark Shelton. This victory would be largely symbolic — more evidence of a Democratic resurgence — because it is unlikely that the Legislature will meet again before Mowery’s term expires on the day the Legislature convenes in January 2009. Her eventual successor will be chosen in the general election of 2008, and Republicans would appear to have a substantial advantage; the six Rs received a combined 68.46% of the vote compared to 31.54% for Barrett, the lone D.

* Does Parent PAC still have clout? The bipartisan pro-public-schools organization was quite successful in its inaugural venture into legislative races in 2006, but this seems like a risky venture to me, with little to gain, since the odds are that, win or lose, Barrett will never cast a vote. Why risk the organization’s hard-earned credibility in a race that means nothing?