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A User’s Guide to a Special Senate Election in Texas

After Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison seemed to make clear this week she’ll resign this fall to concentrate fully on running for governor in 2010, I dove into the state election code to learn more about how a special Senate election would determine her successor.

With Hutchison planning to vacate her seat in October or November, the election code generally says that the special election should be held May 8, 2010, a little more than two months after Texas’ regularly scheduled primaries on March 2. The May 8 date is what the election code describes as a “uniform election date.”

Texas law is unusual in that it allows mid-year special elections for the Senate. In most states, special Senate elections are held in November of even-numbered years.