When Blake Farenthold abruptly resigned his seat in Congress after a sexual harassment scandal and a probe by the House Ethics Committee, residents in his south Texas district were left without a representative in Washington. The seat had already attracted a large number of candidates when Farenthold announced last year that he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2018. But now, the District 27 seat is vacant several months early, and Gov. Greg Abbott has called a special election to fill it. The winner of that election would serve out Farenthold’s term, which ends in January.
“It’s a wide, diverse district with a lot of needs that are not being met – that weren’t being met effectively when the previous office holder was in office,” Whitehurst says.
Recovery from Hurricane Harvey is continuing, and Whitehurst says District 27 needs a strong advocate in Congress who can secure more federal funding.
Whitehurst says Abbott’s choice to call an election so close to the 2018 general election, which could be seen as a choreographed collaboration with Attorney General Ken Paxton, is justified by the needs of the district.
“I don’t think it was a wrong thing,” Whitehurst says. “I think what he was doing was acknowledging what the law says. The law…didn’t anticipate that…some day in south Texas, we were going to have a Congressman who was going to go to Washington and get in the kind of trouble that ours got into.”
Whitehurst says both of the Republican candidates in the runoff to replace Farenthold will also run in the special election to finish out the current term. One Democrat will also run. Whitehurst has so far been able to confirm whether the other candidate will be on the special election ballot. Whitehurst says all of the existing candidates should seek the special election win.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.