Elections 2022Gov. Abbott Sets May 7 Special Election for Brownsville House District

A special election for one of the Rio Grande Valley House districts will be held on May 7, 2022.
February 10, 2022
Following the retirement of Rep. Eddie Lucio, III (D-Brownsville) before the end of his term, Gov. Greg Abbott has called a special election for House District (HD) 38 in the Rio Grande Valley.

The election will take place on May 7, 2022, the same day as a statewide election that contains two constitutional amendments on the ballot. Early voting will begin on April 25, 2022 and be open through May 3, 2022.

Candidates from any party will be able to run for the seat, but if no candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will advance to a runoff election.

The winning candidate will complete the remainder of Lucio’s term, while the general election in November will determine who represents HD 38 in January 2023, when lawmakers are not next slated to meet.

Only two candidates, both Democrats, are competing to be the state representative next year: Erin Gamez and Jonathan Gracia.

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Since lawmakers stipulated that the new House map “does not affect the membership or districts of the House of Representatives of the 87th Texas Legislature” — the term of which the winner of the special election will complete — this could be the last election under the current lines.

Under the district lines that Lucio represented, HD 38 was anchored in Brownsville but stretched up to Harlingen, giving it a partisan leaning of D-62% 

Although the legislature is not slated to meet until after the general election when a different map is used and a different candidate could be elected to the seat, the special election has the potential of serving as a bellwether of the changing political trends in the region.

South Texas has become the battleground Republicans are hoping to win after wide swings toward the GOP in 2020.

If both Republicans and Democrats run in the special election, it could give some insight into the trends in the region, although low voter turnout in special elections does not always align with the results seen in following general elections.

Candidates have until March 7, 2022 to file with the secretary of state for a position on the ballot for the special election.


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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.