Disgraced ex-Texas congressman takes lucrative lobbying post

In this Dec. 19, 2017, file photo, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Starting Wednesday, Victoria residents can cast ballots for one of nine candidates vying to fill ex-Congressman Blake Farenthold’s congressional seat.

After Farenthold abruptly resigned from Congress amid a sexual harassment scandal, Gov. Greg Abbott called a special election June 30 to fill the vacant seat. Early voting for the election starts Wednesday, when voters will be asked to choose from a field of nine candidates who filed paperwork to run in the election.

Those candidates are the four who made it to the primary runoffs: Democratic winner Eric Holguin and his challenger, Raul “Roy” Barrera, plus Republican winner Michael Cloud and his challenger, Bech Bruun. The other five candidates who filed for the special election are Democrat Mike Westergren, Republican Marty Perez, independent Judith Cutright, Libertarian Daniel Tinus and independent Christopher Suprun.

To win the seat, a single candidate must get more than one-half of all the votes. If that doesn’t happen, the two top vote-winners would head to a runoff, which would take place most likely in September. That means whoever is picked could represent the residents of District 27 for only three months near the end of the year.

“I had told (the governor’s office) that I didn’t think it was worth the cost,” said County Judge Ben Zeller.

In Victoria, each election could cost taxpayers between $20,000 and $30,000, he said, adding that he didn’t know of any other county leaders in the district who favored the election.

During a meeting Monday, commissioners are scheduled to discuss polling locations for the June 30 election. Zeller said the county usually offers the Tanglewood Clubhouse as a polling location, but the venue is hosting an event on Election Day, so it won’t be available.

There are, however, other polling locations nearby, Zeller said.

“We’ve got two locations probably a quarter to a half-mile away, both of which will be open,” Zeller said.

Marina reports on local government for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at mriker@vicad.com or 361-580-6511.

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Marina writes about housing, Hurricane Harvey recovery and local politics for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach Marina by emailing mriker@vicad.com or follow her on Twitter, @MarinaStarleaf.

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