Four candidates join Shelley Luther, Drew Springer in race to replace state Sen. Pat Fallon

State Sen. Pat Fallon, R-Prosper, is shown on the Senate floor in 2019. Republicans selected Fallon to replace former U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe on the general election ballot. Credit: Juan Figueroa/The Texas Tribune

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Six candidates have filed in the rapid-fire special election to fill the seat of state Sen. Pat Fallon, R-Prosper, according to the secretary of state's office.

The most prominent contenders for the solidly red seat include state Rep. Drew Springer of Muenster and fellow Republican Shelley Luther, the Dallas salon owner who was jailed earlier this year over her refusal to close her business due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both Springer and Luther had announced their campaigns ahead of Friday's filing deadline.

Here are the four other candidates who filed to compete in the Sept. 29 special election:

  • Republican Craig Carter, who ran against Fallon in the 2018 primary for the state Senate seat and got 15% in the three-way contest
  • Republican Andy Hopper, a Decatur engineer and member of the Texas State Guard
  • Democrat Jacob Minter, recording secretary for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 20
  • Republican Chris Watts, mayor of Denton

The special election is happening because Fallon is poised to join Congress after party insiders picked him earlier this month to replace former U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Heath, on the November ballot. Fallon is likely to win the general election because the congressional district is overwhelmingly Republican.

On Saturday, Fallon submitted his resignation from his state Senate seat, saying it will be effective Jan. 4. Fallon's resignation letter allowed Gov. Greg Abbott to call the special election the next day and use his executive power to fast-track it so that the seat is filled by the time the next legislative session begins in January.

Minutes after Abbott announced the special election, Springer jumped into the race with Fallon's backing. Since then, Springer has unveiled endorsements from dozens of other lawmaker colleagues.

Early voting for the special election begins Sept. 14.

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