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Failed Democrat Candidate Flees Texas Legislature to Run for Mayor

Failed Democrat Candidate Flees Texas Legislature to Run for Mayor

AUSTIN, Texas — Two weeks after Democrat State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) lost the Lieutenant Governor’s race to Republican Dan Patrick by double digits, she has decided to abandon her State Senate seat and run for Mayor of San Antonio.

Van de Putte did not make the decision to run for Mayor until this week, according to a report by KSAT-ABC (San Antonio). “Yes, I will be running for mayor of the city that I love, so very much,” Van de Putte told the television station on Wednesday night, confirming a move that many had speculated she was considering.

Van de Putte joins another Democrat in the race, State Representative Mike Villareal (D-San Antonio), who confirmed just a few days after the election that he was also stepping down from his seat to run for Mayor, as Breitbart Texas reported. Villareal had announced his intention to resign from the Texas Legislature and run for Mayor before the election, and still coasted to an easy victory in his heavily liberal district, winning 86 percent of the vote. 

Both Villareal and Van de Putte’s seats will have to be filled by a special election. The estimated cost for the special election to fill Villareal’s seat is $100,000. as Villareal acknowledged. Because State Senate districts are larger than those for Representatives, the special election to fill Van de Putte’s seat will likely cost even more, all though the city may find some savings if the elections are able to be held on the same day.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Villareal “might otherwise have easily sailed into the seat,” if Van de Putte had not entered the race. Although she lost the Lieutenant Governor’s race, Van de Putte will draw some benefits from the campaign, including increased name recognition and a network of contributors and volunteers in the area. She only won 40 percent of the statewide vote in her race against Patrick, but did win Bexar County, earning 50.6 percent of the vote there. Already, her advantage is shown in the heightened media attention her announcement drew, as compared to Villareal. The Express-News’ night Metro editor, Sandra Santos, tweeted a photo late Wednesday night, showing that Van de Putte’s announcement was the “big Page One Story” for Thursday’s paper:

Villareal and Van de Putte may find themselves part of a larger trend. As Breitbart Texas’ Bob Price reported, Representatives Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) is also rumored to be considering leaving the Legislature to run for Mayor of Houston. “Texas is sending what is arguably the most conservative ever class of State Senators and Representatives to the next legislative session which is set to begin in January,” wrote Price. “Because of this and the humiliating defeat of the Democrats running for statewide office and the near super-majority of Republicans in both chambers of the legislature, it appears Democrats may be retreating to city level politics.”

The San Antonio Mayor’s race is a nonpartisan election, and is scheduled for May 9, 2015. In addition to Van de Putte and Villareal, San Antonio District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal has expressed an interest in running, and an independent candidate named Paul Martinez launched a website, mayorofsanantonio.com, which declares that he is running as well. 

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker

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