Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is seeking to hold a special election as soon as possible to replace former Rep. Blake Farenthold, who resigned from Congress earlier this month.
Abbott has asked for guidance from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on whether he can suspend certain laws that stand in the way of a timely special election, The Texas Tribune reports.
Abbott believes the seat should be filled quickly because it covers the Coastal Bend-area district that was devastated by Hurricane Harvey last August.
"It is imperative to restore representation for the people of that district as quickly as possible," Abbott told Paxton in a letter obtained by The Tribune. "I am acutely concerned about this issue because many of the district’s residents are still recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Harvey."
Abbott says state and federal law are in conflict, making it "practically impossible to hold an emergency special election … before the end of September." He asks Paxton if he can use his executive authority to "suspend relevant state election laws and order an emergency special election."
The resignation of Farenthold, a Republican, capped months of controversy over sexual-harassment allegations by a former aide and ethical concerns over an $84,000 payment to settle the case with taxpayer funds.
Vying for his seat in upcoming runoffs are Democrats Roy Barrera and Eric Holguin and Republicans Bech Bruun and Michael Cloud.
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