AUSTIN, Texas — Days after winning reelection to his seat in the Texas Legislature, State Representative Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) confirmed that he would step down in January to run for Mayor of San Antonio. Villarreal, a 43 year old financial analyst, had coasted to reelection, winning over 86 percent of the vote, despite the fact that he openly admitted he had no intention whatsoever of keeping the job, even promoting events related to the November election as supporting his campaign for Mayor. Now, taxpayers will be stuck paying the bill for a special election to fill his spot in the Legislature as he benefits from the name recognition boost of having his name on the ballot just a few short months before the mayoral elections.
Villarreal had announced his intentions back in May, telling KSAT that his plan was to run unopposed, get re-elected on the November 4th ballot, and then announce his resignation to the Governor, requiring a special election to be held to elect his successor. Villarreal acknowledged that he knew that the special election would likely cost taxpayers more than $100,000, but claimed that it was worth the expense, because he was so qualified for the job of mayor that the cost of the special election was a burden worth paying. “The wrong person could really mess things up. The opportunity cost of not having the strongest leader represent us and fight for us is huge,” Villarreal said.
Texas Public Radio reported in August that a special election for Villarreal’s state representative seat would likely be held in December or January. If Villarreal had resigned before August 21, local Texas Democrat precinct chairs would have selected a replacement candidate for the ballot, and the taxpayers would have been spared the expense of a special election.
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