State Rep. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, announced he is running for Senate District 19. Gutierez ran for the seat last year and came up short in a special election.
After the 2018 debacle, conditions are expected to be much more favorable for Democrats in November 2020, and they are confident they can knock off Sen. Pete Flores, R-Pleasanton. But first there will be a contested Democratic primary: San Antonio lawyer Xochil Peña Rodriguez is already running. She is the daughter of former U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio.
For now, SD-19 is the only Texas Senate race expected to be competitive in the general election next year. Still, it has high stakes: If Democrats flip the seat, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick could lose the 19-member supermajority that is required to bring bills to the Senate floor without Democratic support.
Gutierrez first ran for SD-19 last year after then-state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, was convicted of 11 felonies including fraud and money laundering and resigned. Gutierrez finished third out of eight in the special election to replace Uresti, which went to a runoff between Flores and former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine. Flores’ triumph over Gallego weeks later marked an embarrassing defeat for Democrats in a district they had long held.
Unlike when he ran in the special election, Gutierrez will have to give up his House seat this time. One Democrat, Liz Campos, is already running in the safely Democratic district.
Another Democrat, Jennifer Ramos, has not declared but has said she would run if Gutierrez vacated the seat for another SD-19 bid.
Campos is Uresti’s former chief of staff, while Ramos is a former member of the San Antonio City Council. She was an aide to Gutierrez when he was on the council before getting appointed to fill his seat when he ran for state representative.