Here is the Chronicle editorial board's endorsement for the Jan. 28 special election run-off, for which early voting runs Jan. 21-24.
Texas House District 50: Celia Israel
Israel was our choice over two other solid Democratic candidates running in the interim special election last fall. We again strongly endorse her candidacy as she faces a more critical run-off against Republican Mike VanDeWalle in what is expected to be a low-turnout election. The winner will serve out the remainder of the term for the seat vacated by former Rep. Mark Strama and will have the advantage of incumbency on the general election ballot in November. Fortunately for Israel, her two former Democratic opponents – Rico Reyes and Jade Chang Sheppard – have endorsed her candidacy for both the run-off and the general election. VanDeWalle, a Jollyville chiropractor, is running on a platform of smaller government, fewer taxes, and less regulation. He vows to "fight Obamacare and stop government regulations that hurt small business." The Legislature is already stacked with people who espouse those same notions and the state is no better off for it. Israel, a small business owner herself (she's a real estate agent and runs a consulting firm) would more fully and fairly represent all the interests of District 50 residents, evidenced by her lengthy record of progressive advocacy and activism – on issues ranging from women's rights to public transportation. Moreover, her grassroots experience, coupled with a clear understanding of how both local and state institutions work together in practice, make her the best choice in this race and the one that will follow in November.
2014 Election Calendar
Between special elections, primaries, the general election, and potential run-offs, there could be five different elections on the calendar this year. In addition to the House District 50 run-off on Jan. 28, here's what else you need to know:
March 4 Party primaries. This being an off-year, there's no presidential race, but there are Democratic and Republican primaries for federal, statewide, state legislative, judicial and county seats. Early voting Feb. 18-28.
May 10 While most municipalities are moving to November elections, several smaller jurisdictions have stayed in May, including the cities of Pflugerville, Lakeway, and Bee Cave, and the Eanes, Lake Travis, and Manor ISDs, as well as several MUDs and water districts. Early voting, April 28-May 6.
May 27 Primary run-off, if required. Early voting, May 19-23.
Nov. 4 General election. Aside from the normal off-year races, this will include the first council races under the new single-member districts, plus Austin Community College and Austin ISD trustee races. There will also be a constitutional amendment to direct more oil and gas production tax revenue to road construction and maintenance, while locally there are also likely to be an ACC bond, a city transportation bond, and potentially an AISD tax rollback election. Early voting, Oct. 20-31.
December Council and ISD run-offs. The city is still discussing election and early voting dates.
Voting Information, HD 50 Special Election Run-off
Early Voting: Tuesday, Jan. 21-Friday, Jan. 24; Election Day: Jan. 28
Early Voting: You may vote at any early voting location in the county in which you are registered.
Election Day: You may vote in your home precinct, or in Travis County, at any precinct polling place.
Voter ID: Texas law now requires registered voters to show a current photo ID issued by either the Texas Dept. of Public Safety or U.S. government. For more info on obtaining a photo ID, contact DPS: 512/424-2600 or visit www.txdps.state.tx.us. No photo ID is required when voting by mail.
Early Voting Locations
Open 7am-7pm, except for mobile voting locations.
Travis Co. Offices, 5501 Airport
County Tax Office, 15822 Foothill Farms Loop, Pflugerville
Randalls, 10900-D Research
Tuesday, Jan. 21
Northwest YMCA, 5807 McNeil, 8am-noon
Gus Garcia Rec. Center, 1201 E. Rundberg, 2-6pm
Wednesday, Jan. 22
North Austin YMCA, 1000 W. Rundberg, 9am-5pm
Thursday, Jan. 23
Conservatory at Wells Branch, 14320 Tandem, 9-11am
Wells Branch MUD and Rec. Center, 3000 Shoreline, 1-6pm
Friday, Jan. 24
Travis County Sheriff's Office (East), 7811 Burleson Manor, Manor 9am-5pm