Houston City Council Member Wanda Adams is challenging incumbent State Representative Alma Allen for the seat.
"People ask me why are you challenging an incumbent, and I said it's the same reason why people challenge me as an incumbent; it's a democracy," said Adams.
Her decision to challenge a well-known incumbent in this largely African-American district surprised many political observers, but Allen insists she wasn't one of them.
"I expect someone every time, that's the American way," said Allen.
Allen has served in the legislature since 2004. Her fellow elected officials have all rallied around her, voicing support for her re-election.
Our political analyst says Adams is term limited at city council, and is looking to make a move.
"I think it's just personal ambition, Wanda Adams is in a position she can't stay in. There's no term limits for state legislators, so you can't wait them out," said Dr. Richard Murray.
Adams says she's simply doing what her constituents want.
"It's the same people in 2007 asking me to run for city council, and then this time they came back and said, 'Hey do you want to continue to serve us?' And I said, 'Definitely,'" Adams told us.
With early voting off to a slow start and a total light turnout expected, every vote will count and Houston's south side will have to decide.
"I don't like to see the community split, but the community has a choice. The community also knows it has an incumbent, and they can also look at my voting record," Allen said.
Adams says she is plowing forward despite some who questioned her move, while Allen says she plans on staying put.
It's your voice, your vote, and today early voting began for the state's long-delayed primary. The official primary election date is May 29, but voters can cast their ballots early from now until May 25.
To find a polling place near you, visit our Vote 2012 section here.
Stay with Eyewitness News and abc13.com for continuing coverage of the primary races. We'll bring you the latest information on air and online leading up to Election Day.