The Texas House lost a beloved member last Thursday when Rep. Edmund Kuempel (R-Seguin) died of a heart attack. Kuempel suffered a massive heart attack late in the 81st legislative session in 2009 but was resuscitated that night by Rep. John Zerwas (R- Houston), a physician. Kuempel was first elected to the House in 1982 and most recently was Chairman of the House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures. Governor Perry has announced that there will be a special election on December 14th to fill the House District 44 seat. Kuempel’s son, John, has already filed to run for the seat.
In House District 48, it looks like Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) will hold onto her slim margin of victory over Republican challenger Dan Neil. After the provisional and overseas ballots were counted, Howard held a 16 vote lead. Neil says he is considering whether to request a recount. The deadline to request a recount in writing is the second day after the governor’s canvass which should occur sometime between November 17 and December 2. That leaves the partisan balance in the Texas House at 99 Republicans and 51 Democrats.
Here are some interesting things to think about regarding last week’s election. In the five largest counties in Texas, 62 percent of voters cast straight ticket ballots. According to an analysis by the Texas Tribune, Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign spent $14.58 for every vote he received in the general election. Democrat Bill White spent $11.76.
Over at the Texas Capitol, bills are being pre-filed for the next legislative session. Almost 400 bills and joint resolutions were filed the first day alone. The session begins on Tuesday, January 11. Bills can be filed from now until March 11, the filing deadline.
Outgoing Railroad Commissioner Victor Carrillo will join the Fort Worth firm of Texas Right of Way Associates once his term expires after the end of this year. Carrillo, who was defeated in the Republican primary in March, will serve as a consultant to the firm that specializes in right-of-way acquisitions, land title research, mineral leasing, surveying and other services. Republican David Porter will take Carillo’s spot on the Texas Railroad Commission
Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Michael Martin of San Antonio to the Texas Racing Commission for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2015. Martin is a veterinarian and principal owner of Retama Equine Hospital Inc.