Governor sets local Texas House District 10 vote for Aug. 31

Vacant D-10 position to be filled by special election; former Rep. Wray, Harrison enter race

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
John Wray
Brian Harrison

After Jake Ellzey’s upset victory in the U.S. House special election runoff opened the Texas House District 10 seat, another special election has been called to fill the vacancy.

On Friday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation calling a special election on Tuesday, Aug. 31, to complete Ellzey’s two-year term, which will leave just over six months to go before the March 2022 primaries.

Candidates who wish to have their names placed on the special election ballot must file their applications with the Secretary of State no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug 12. Early voting will begin on Monday, Aug. 23.

Chapter 3 of the Texas Election Code, enacted in 1985, states that the governor shall order by proclamation each special election to fill a vacancy in the legislature.

All special elections by law must follow a “jungle” format — similar to the recent U.S. House special election that Ellzey ended up winning — in which candidates from all parties appear on a single ballot. The top two vote-getters advance to a runoff if no candidate wins a clear majority of votes.

The first declared candidate was former state Rep. John Wray, R-Waxahachie, whom Ellzey ended up replacing in Austin. Wray served three terms representing District 10, but chose not to run for re-election in 2020.

On Tuesday, Wray drew primary opposition when former Trump administration official Brian Harrison of Midlothian, a candidate in the U.S. House special election, joined the race. Harrison played spoiler in the U.S. House election by finishing a strong second in Ellis County, helping keep the Democrats out of the runoff.

“In Austin, I will fight passionately for the 2nd amendment and constitutional carry, to keep CRT out of schools, advance conservative priorities using every tool available, allow true homeownership by eliminating property taxes, prevent shutdowns, and keep mask and vaccine mandates out of Texas,” Harrison said.

Ryan Pitts, who ran against Ellzey in the 2020 Republican primary for the state House seat, announced last Wednesday he won’t be running for the seat a second time. Pitts is the son of former state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie.

The special election will complete the term in District 10 as it is presently drawn up. District 10 consists of all of Ellis County and part of Henderson County, but the makeup of the district will almost certainly change in redistricting.

U.S. Census figures from 2020 will soon be released that will result in the redrawing of political boundaries across the state for the next 10 years, starting with the 2022 election cycle.