Gov. Greg Abbott sets Jan. 23 special election to fill Drew Springer's Texas House seat

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Former State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, spoke during a Texas Tribune panel in 2019. Springer will join the state Senate in 2021. Credit: John Jordan/The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott has selected Jan. 23 as the date of the special election to fill the seat of state Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, who recently won a promotion to the Texas Senate.

The candidate filing deadline is a week away — Jan. 4 — and early voting begins a week after that.

Springer is headed to the upper chamber after winning the Dec. 19 special election runoff to replace Sen. Pat Fallon, R-Prosper, who is on his way to Congress next month.

Springer's House District 68 is safely Republican. It covers a rural swath wrapping from north of the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs up into the Panhandle.

At least two Republicans have already announced campaigns for the House seat. They are Jason Brinkley, who is resigning as Cooke County judge to run for the seat, and David Spiller, a Jacksboro attorney and Jacksboro ISD trustee.

The Jan. 23 date means that Springer's successor could be sworn in early in the 140-day legislative session, which begins Jan. 12. State law gives Abbott the power to order a sped-up special election when a vacancy occurs within 60 days of the session.

The special election for Springer's House seat is the latest development in a game of political dominoes that began when former U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Heath, was named director of national intelligence earlier this year. Fallon successfully ran to replace Ratcliffe in the U.S. House, and Springer is set to succeed Fallon in the Texas Senate after prevailing in the Dec. 19 runoff against Shelley Luther, the Dallas salon owner who was jailed for refusing to shut down her business due to coronavirus restrictions.