Dr. John Zerwas (R-Richmond), incumbent chair of the Appropriations Committee, announced he would resign his seat, effective September 30.
Zerwas served in the Texas House of Representatives for 12 years, and held the position of Chair of the Appropriations Committee from 2017-2019.
His retirement creates an opportunity for a special election, subject to a proclamation by Gov. Greg Abbott. If the governor orders the special election by September 30, the election will be November 5, and if he orders the special election after that it will be held in May 2020.
Zerwas’s departure could open the race to a field of Democrats hoping to compete in District 28, which spans the Katy to Rosenberg areas. Though Rep. Zerwas represented the district for over a decade, the 2018 election revealed the district’s potential as a democratic possibility with former congressman Beto O’Rourke coming up just 3.2 percent short of victory.
With the Texas Democrats looking to flip nine seats in the house in 2020, the district will almost certainly be a focus for both parties.
Though it’s unclear who will step up on behalf of the Republican party to run for the seat, two Democratic candidates have filed to run: Meghan Scoggins, the Democratic candidate who ran against Dr. Zerwas in 2018, and educator Dr. Eliz Markowitz.
Markowitz shared the news on her Facebook saying “Our race just got more interesting!”
As for Zerwas’s next steps, he is quoted saying that, while he is leaving elected office, he looks forward to “continuing to serve Texas in other capacities.”
Update: As of Thursday August 1st, Zerwas announced his new position of executive vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Texas System, effective October 1st.