State senate race heating up despite no election date - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

State senate race heating up despite no election date

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

The request was re-election and the voters of District 6 delivered, even though long-serving senator Mario Gallegos had joined the departed just three weeks prior.

In a largely Hispanic district where "who" you know matters mightily, the scramble to fill Gallegos seat has drawn a pair of Democratic contenders: both Latinas, both political veterans, both with loyal constituencies.

"It's a real civil war in the Houston Hispanic political community with one group on the side of Sylvia Garcia and the other on the side of Carol Alvarado, so really what we are going to be seeing is a battle of political machines," said Mark Jones, chairman of Political Science at Rice University.

On east side streets where, in a low turnout election, each vote is magnified, neither candidate can claim a clear advantage.

"Yeah, it's going to be close. It's going to be real close," said voter Diana McGowan.

At his dress shop off Harrisburg, Luis Clavijo remains undecided, but says his vote will go to the candidate who he believes is the best listener and most capable of delivering results rather than promises.

He offered a few sincere questions and instructions for the candidates to use when they meet with voters.

"How can I help?  What can I do?  Give me ideas.  Let's get it done!  That doesn't happen," said Clavijo.  "We need someone who cares."

On the campaign trail, both candidates claimed they are the kind of public servant Clavijo and those like him seek.

"I don't do this for my own pocket book.  I don't do this for political agenda.  I do it for service.  I do it to help people and to make a difference," said Garcia, a former Harris County Commissioner.

"I'm continuing to nurture and build on relationships and being consistently visible in the community because if you're not, people remember that and sometimes they vote you out of office," said Alvarado in a clear reference to Garcia's 2010 defeat to an unknown Republican in a race to retain her seat on the commissioner's court.

While no election date has been set by Governor Rick Perry, Jones predicts the race will be held in mid-January with a runoff likely in February.

Republican R.W. Bray is also seeking Gallego's seat.  He attracted 29 percent of the vote in the Nov. 6 general election won by the deceased Senator.

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