Texas Attorney General Allows Special Election for Farenthold’s Seat

Governor said it was related to Hurricane Harvey

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton gave permission to Gov. Greg Abbott to hold a special election to fill former Rep. Blake Farenthold’s seat.

Paxton issued a non-binding opinion that said a court would agree to set aside election laws to allow for the governor to suspend certain laws if they interfere with disaster recovery, according to the Texas Tribune.

Abbott sent a letter to Paxton’s office last week requesting a suspension of election laws specifically so constituents affected by Hurricane Harvey could have representation.

“If the Governor determines the situation in Congressional District 27 constitutes an emergency warranting a special election before November 6, 2018, a court would likely conclude that section 41.0011 of the Election Code authorizes calling an expedited special election to fill the vacancy in that district,” Paxton wrote.

Paxton’s opinion also said it was “practically impossible to hold an emergency special election ... before the end of September,” if the governor were bound by the state and federal laws in place.

Farenthold resigned earlier this month, four months after it was revealed he used $84,000 of taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint against him.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Texas’ 27th District Solid Republican.

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