Candidates face off in race to replace late senator

January 11, 2013 4:16:53 PM PST
Early voting is now underway for the special election to replace the late State Sen. Mario Gallegos. He died back in October due to liver disease complications and now, eight candidates are fighting to replace him.

This special election features a couple of familiar names and some political newcomers. They faced off Friday in a debate with the election just two weeks away, and all of whom think they can best serve District 6.

When Gallegos was re-elected posthumously in November, it set in motion a flurry of post-Election Day campaigning.

There are eight people who want to fill the long-held seat in the Texas Senate and six of them were at an east-end chamber luncheon on Friday afternoon, making pitches to the district's civic leaders.

"District 6 voters have a choice, and they are at a crossroads at the presdent time," Democratic candidate Rodolfo Reyes said.

"First of all, we have to have people responsible for how they spend their money," Republican candidate Dorothy Olmos said.

The informal forum was an opportunity for all of the candidates to talk about jobs, the port of Houston, and healthcare but most of all themselves.

"We haven't had anyone that can address the needs and go to Austin to ascertain funds to make sure those needs are actually met," Republican candidate R.W. Bray said.

"There needs to be a change. There needs to be a change in how leadership is done ,not just in Austin, but here in our community. I want to be that leader," Democratic candidate Joaquin Martinez said.

It was also another chance for the two most recognizable political names on the ballot to sit at the same table: State Rep. Carol Alvarado and former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia. They have been the most visible campaigns and haven't been shy about trying to distinguish themselves from the others.

"Especially in an open race you're going to have numerous candidates. But I feel good about the type of campaign that we're running. It's positive and we're sticking to the issues," Alvarado said.

"When people are running for office -- there's eight of us -- everybody has to look at their background and their record and I've got a proven record of public service that's always been about putting people first," Garcia said.

Early voting for the special election is already open. Election Day is January 26. If there is a runoff, it would be in either late February or early March.
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