Perry Calls Special Election for Strama's Seat

House District 50 on Nov 5 ballot with four Democrats in hunt

House District 50: Mark Strama's vacant seat, back up for grabs on Nov. 5
House District 50: Mark Strama's vacant seat, back up for grabs on Nov. 5

When Mark Strama resigned from his Texas House seat earlier this month to become head of Google Fiber's Austin operation, a special election to finish his term was inevitable. Now Gov. Rick Perry has set a date: November 5.

Fortunately, there is already a long line of Democrats ready to jump into the fray. There are currently four names in contention.

Municipal Judge Ramey Ko. An active local Democrat, Ko has spent the last few years heavily involved in raising Asian-American political engagement in Travis County:
• Contractor Jade Chang Shep­pard. A ballot box newcomer, she was touted as a possible challenger to Rep. Dawnna Dukes in 2007.
Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce secretary Celia Isra­el. As a consultant, Israel is a fixture in local Hispanic politics. However, she lost her sole campaign to date: A 2004 challenge to Commissioner Ron Davis
• Attorney Rico Reyes. A former Travis County assistant dis­trict attorney and ex-marine, Reyes' campaign will probably be most rooted in the Pflugerville end of HD50.

It is pretty inevitable that there will be a Republican challenger to the seat. HD 50 wasn't too heavily gerrymandered during the last round of redistricting, but there were undoubtedly some tweaks (most especially some swaps with Dukes' neighboring HD 46) intended to make this bluish-purple seat a little more crimson.

Of course, whoever takes the seat, it will be a slightly Pyrrhic victory, as they will be straight back out on the campaign trail for the general election in November 2014. However, holding the seat, even after a special, gives the winner an undeniable incumbent's edge.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

MORE Rick Perry
No Nugent Is Good Nugent
No Nugent Is Good Nugent
GOP weeps over Nugent comments, but are these crocodile tears?

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 23, 2014

Texas Governor to Decriminalize Pot!
Texas Governor to Decriminalize Pot!
Perry claims progress … but the facts are not so plain

Jordan Smith, Jan. 24, 2014

More by Richard Whittaker
Austin Film Festival to Honor <i>Ed Wood</i> Writers
Austin Film Festival to Honor Ed Wood Writers
Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski to receive Bill Wittliff Award

May 30, 2023

AusPop Organizes a Tribute to Frank Kozik
AusPop Organizes a Tribute to Frank Kozik
A special night at the Mohawk to celebrate the print master

May 26, 2023


Texas House of Representatives, November Election 2013, Special Election, Ramey Ko, Jade Chang Sheppard, Celia Israel, Rico Reyes, Mark Strama, Rick Perry, November 2013 Election

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle