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Rep. Rodriguez Drops Out Of Runoff Race, Leaving Judge Eckhardt To Replace Watson In Texas Senate

Julia Reihs
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez was to face former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt in a runoff for the Texas Senate seat left vacant by Kirk Watson.

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State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, has dropped out of the runoff with former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt for the state Senate seat left vacant by Kirk Watson.

Eckhardt narrowly missed the 50% majority needed to win the special election outright two weeks ago. Rodriguez came in a solid – but distant – second, and that gap may have been too much to overcome. Senate District 14 includes Bastrop County and parts of Travis County.

Rodriguez said he will instead focus on getting stuff done in the Texas House – which could have a different look next year.

“I decided it was best to spend my energy working to get a Democratic majority in the House, and I think we’re well on our way to do that,” he told KUT. “And I want that majority to be as diverse as the state of Texas, and I want to work toward that, as well.”

In a statement, he called January's session of the Legislature "the most critical we have faced." He congratulated Eckhardt and said he looked forward to working with her.

Eckhardt tweeted that she looked forward to "joining forces" and advancing their "shared progressive values." 

Rodriguez has represented East Austin and Southeast Travis County for 18 years in the Legislature. He said he is withdrawing his name with the Secretary of State’s office, which would nullify the need for a runoff this fall.

This story has been updated.

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Jimmy is the assistant program director, but still reports on business and sports every now and then. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @maasdinero.
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