Sarah Eckhardt wins special election for Texas Senate seat after Rep. Eddie Rodriguez forgoes a runoff

Former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt at The Texas Tribune Festival in 2018 Thomas Meredith for The Texas Tribune

Former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt is set to succeed former state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, in the Texas Senate after state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez said Monday he is dropping out of the race. Eckhardt and Rodriguez, both Democrats, were poised to face off in a special election runoff for the seat.

In an email to supporters, Rodriguez, who has served in the Texas House since 2003, emphasized Democrats' chances at flipping the lower chamber ahead of a "critical and historic [legislative] session."

"For that reason," he wrote, "I have decided to forego the runoff for Senate and focus my efforts on winning a Democratic majority and promoting an aggressive, progressive agenda in the Texas House."

Eckhardt and Rodriguez finished first and second, respectively, in the six-way race on July 14. Gov. Greg Abbott had not yet set a date for the runoff.