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Government & Public Policy

Possible State Senate Departure By Van De Putte Opens The Door For Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer

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Ryan E. Poppe

As San Antonio Democratic state senator, Leticia Van De Putte, considers her next career move, other firebrand Democratic lawmakers have already begun announcing their interest in filling her spot in the state senate. 

Sen. Van De Putte says she isn’t sure whether she’ll run in the San Antonio mayoral election in 2015, but it might be interesting to note how this potential move might affect senate Democrats during the upcoming legislative session.

The Chair for the Texas Democratic Party, GilbertoHinojosa, however, thought Van De Putte’s departure shouldn’t mean any major changes.

“I don’t believe her seeking the position of the mayor of San Antonio would, in any way, affect what happens in the senate this session. [State senator from Houston’s District 7] Dan Patrick has already said that he’s not going to abide by the two-thirds rule,” said Hinojosa.

But Prof. Mark Jones, who is the chair for Rice University’s Political Science Department, said if Van De Putte delayed this decision, it could not only hurt her chances for mayor but also hurt Democrats during the session, because not every vote in the senate went along party lines.

“It could mean the Democrats could be without one crucial vote during at least two months of the session; if there is a runoff, it could be sometime in mid to late March before the new senator would arrive,” said Jones.

Democrats in the senate are already short one vote with the absence of Wendy Davis. Those margins would be even lower while awaiting Van De Putte’s successor, which could take half the session. San Antonio Democratic Rep., Trey Martinez-Fischer, has already announced his interest and intent to run for the potential open senate seat. 

In a statement, Martinez-Fischer writes: ""If Senator Van de Putte chooses to continue her service to our community by entering the race for San Antonio Mayor, I will give serious consideration to asking the voters of Senate District 26 to allow me to be their voice in the Senate. I am honored that so many of my colleagues in Congress, the legislature and other community leaders have already encouraged me to run for the Senate"