Texas Democrats could be down a seat in the state Senate when the Legislature reconvenes in January -- all over a spat between congressional candidate Sylvia Garcia and Gov. Greg Abbott.
The governor says Garcia has yet to formally resign her seat, therefore, missing the deadline to get the race on November's ballot.
“She didn't post a real resignation that the governor would accept and it's too late for it to be on the November ballot, and the result is we're going to have to run an extra election than what we would have, and that's going to cost the taxpayers of Harris County over a half-million dollars,” says Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart.
“More than likely we could end off with a runoff, which delays it anyway,” he says. “We would have been at least one election up on it if we had it in November and the runoff in December.”
Critics argue Garcia is delaying her resignation so she can collect another retirement check.
“By resigning next year, she's able to purchase more years to get her retirement from the Senate,” says Stanart. “She's already got a city retirement. She's already got a county retirement. Now she's looking for a retirement from the state.”
According to Garcia’s financial disclosure reports, she collects $60,840 a year from the city of Houston for her pension from serving as a judge and city controller between 1993 and 2002.
She also receives a $30,981 a year pension for her eight years of service on commissioners' court ending in 2010.
Either way, it appears 840,000 residents in Houston’s East End, South Houston and part of Pasadena could be without a state Senator come January.