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Special Texas House election for former state Rep. Leo Pacheco’s San Antonio-area district will be Sept. 28

Empty chairs on the House floor on Aug. 23, 2021.
Empty chairs on the House floor on Aug. 23, 2021.

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Gov. Greg Abbott has picked Sept. 28 as the date of the special election to replace former state Rep. Leo Pacheco, D-San Antonio.

The candidate filing deadline is Monday, and early voting starts Sept. 20. Pacheco resigned effective Aug. 19 to take a job with San Antonio College.

House District 118 is anchored in San Antonio and covers parts of Bexar County south and east of the city. It is a Democratic-friendly district, though Republicans have already made clear they are eyeing it in the special election.

John Lujan, the Republican who previously held the seat for a brief period, has announced a campaign, as has the 2020 GOP nominee for the seat, Adam Salyer. In endorsing Lujan last week, the Associated Republicans of Texas said the special election is "an early opportunity for Republicans to share our values and win new voters in South Texas."

Republicans are newly targeting the region after President Joe Biden underperformed throughout it last year.

On the Democratic side of the special election, at least three candidates have emerged: Katie Farias, an elected member of the Southside Independent School District Board of Managers; Desi Martinez, a prominent trial attorney; and Frank Ramirez, former zoning and planning director for District 7 on the San Antonio City Council.

Pacheco has endorsed Ramirez to fill the seat, as have two San Antonio City Council members, Adriana Rocha Garcia and Jalen McKee-Rodriguez.

Disclosure: San Antonio College has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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Correction, Sept. 16, 2021: A previous version of this story misidentified Frank Ramirez's title based on his own campaign materials at the time. Ramirez is the former zoning and planning director for District 7 on the San Antonio City Council, not the former zoning and planning director for all of San Antonio.