Abbott’s proclamation came after a letter of resignation was signed by state Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper), who was recently selected as the GOP nominee in Texas’ 4th Congressional District, a heavily Republican seat that he is expected to win in the general election.
SD 30 is likewise heavily Republican — Fallon won against a Democrat in 2018 with 74 percent of the vote — but candidates from both parties will be able to run for the seat, similar to the special election earlier this year in the heavily Democratic Senate District 14.
Candidates in the race to fill Fallon’s seat will be required to file with the Texas Secretary of State by the end of the week at 5:00 PM on Friday, August 28.
Two high-profile individuals have announced that they are running for the seat: Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) and Salon Á la Mode owner Shelley Luther.
Springer has represented the large and rural House District 68 since 2012 after winning a primary runoff and going into the general election unopposed.
“I’m excited to announce my candidacy for the Texas Senate,” tweeted Springer after Abbott’s announcement of the special election. “I bring my conservative record [and] hard work to the race, along with a life of being raised, educated, [and] working in SD30.”
On the Mark Davis Show last week, Fallon said that he “would reserve judgment” about his potential successors and indicated that he wanted to hold several candidate forums around the district.
“I want to learn more and I’ll have an open mind, but I have a vote in this,” said Fallon. “So what my thoughts are is to have a few — two or three — candidate forums in areas around Senate District 30, [and] make sure they’re very fair and substantive.”
Nevertheless, Springer said in his announcement tweet that, “Serving with [Fallon] for 8 years, it is an honor to have his endorsement.”
Springer also boasted a long list of other state Republican lawmakers to endorse him: Reps. Cole Hefner, Briscoe Cain, Tom Oliverson, Mayes Middleton, Brad Buckley, Mike Lang, Matt Shaheen, Jeff Leach, Craig Goldman, James White, Bill Zedler, Ben Leman, Greg Bonnen, Ed Thompson, Giovanni Capriglione, Cody Harris, John Cyrier, Jim Murphy, Cecil Bell Jr., Steve Toth, Andy Murr, DeWayne Burns, Dade Phelan, Dennis Paul, Brooks Landgraf, Dwayne Bohac, James Frank, Reggie Smith, Scott Sanford, Candy Noble, Jared Patterson, Justin Holland, Will Metcalf, and Matt Krause.
If Springer were to win the election, the dominoes would then fall to House District 68 where Republicans would be left to scramble to find another replacement.
Democrat Patsy Ledbetter is currently on the ballot to face Springer in the HD 68 race.
In 2018, Springer was unopposed and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) carried the district against Beto O’Rourke with 83 percent of the vote.
At a rally supporting police in Denton County, Shelley Luther told the crowd, “You better bet I’m putting my hat in the ring [for SD 30].”
Luther rose to popularity earlier this year when she challenged Abbott’s coronavirus lockdown orders as enforced by local Dallas officials to reopen her hair salon business.
Since then, Luther has become more vocal in politics, voicing opposition to many of the continued COVID-19 emergency orders.
Another potential candidate in the race is Denton Mayor Chris Watts, who filed a campaign treasurer appointment with the Texas Ethics Commission shortly after Fallon’s nomination to TX-04.
With the special emergency election scheduled for September 29, early voting will begin on Monday, September 14.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.