Special election slated Jan. 25
The Kyle City Council accepted the resignation of District 6 Council member Daphne Tenorio at a special meeting on Monday and ordered a special election to be held Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in order to fill her unexpired term, which runs to November 2021.
Tenorio, who was first elected to the city council in November 2018, resigned in order to run for the office of Hays County Tax Assessor-Collector.
Tenorio, who said she had long considered the position, will run in the Democratic primary.
Current Tax Assessor-Collector Jenifer O’Kane, who had served as chief deputy to former Tax Assessor-Collector Luann Caraway, was appointed by the commissioners court in March to serve the remainder of Caraway’s unexpired term. Caraway is a Republican.
The position is “within my knowledge and it appealed to me,” said Tenorio, who told the council that she did not make the decision to run until Nov. 6, the day after the recent election. “It was never my intent to have the city spend as much money as we’re going to have to do to have this election,” she said. She also said she was unaware that the state bans elections too close to primaries, something Mayor Travis Mitchel said was “understandable…it’s never come up before.”
Mitchell had originally moved to hold a special election on Jan. 4. However, several members of the council objected to scheduling an election so close to the holidays, when many voters may be out of town.
Additionally, two people who spoke up during public comment expressed concerns about the date of the election.
Lila Knight said she “understands the difficulty” in calling the election because of “restrictions placed on you by the Texas Elections Code and the Texas Constitution” including that an election may not be held 30 days before or 30 days after a primary – a rule known as the “black out.” Texas will hold its primaries on Super Tuesday, March 3.
“I would also ask that you do your very best to make everyone aware there actually is an election going on,” Knight said.
Election worker Penny Krug said she too was concerned about a Jan. 4 election date. “There’s too much stuff going on (during the holiday season),” she said. “It would take away from family time. As an election worker I can decline to work it, those people who are being paid cannot.” When asked later what date she would prefer, Krug said a Jan. 25 election would give the county’s elections office time to get equipment ready and do required testing.
Mayor Pro Tem Dex Ellison also expressed his concerns about the date originally proposed, including the short period of time it would allow for the word to get out and also for candidates to make the decision to run, “which we all know is quite a decision.”
Ellison decried the scant participation in local elections and said he didn’t want to do anything “to prevent people from voting … I think it would be wise of us and also very considerate if we were to move the date back.”
There was some discussion about the timing of a runoff, should one become necessary. State law stipulates that a runoff must be held at least 20 days after the original election, and council members debated whether that would bump up too close to the March 3 primaries. In the end, they decided to go ahead and schedule the special election.
“Probably the wiser thing is to focus on the main election,” Mitchell said. “If we happen to have a runoff we will deal with it at that time.”
Council also decided that the polling place would be Chapa Middle School. If for any reason that location was unavailable on Jan. 25, voting would be at Fire Station 2.
O’Kane has not officially announced that she will run in the Republican primary but submitted a form Nov. 12 naming Doug Olson as her campaign treasurer.