By Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune – June 25, 2016
State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has won the Democratic nomination for a vacant seat on the Harris County commissioner’s court, putting the 26-year Texas Senate veteran on a path to leave the Legislature by next year.
Ellis garnered support from a majority of precinct chairs at a Saturday meeting of the Harris County Democratic Party, according to Ellis spokesman, Dave Edmonson. He will run unopposed in the November general election for the seat left open when longtime Commissioner El Franco Lee died.
Ellis now must withdraw from the November ballot in Senate District 13, which covers a swath of southwest Houston. He will be replaced on the ballot by whichever Democrat can win the support of a majority of the precinct chairs in the district. The replacement will run unopposed in November.
At least three state representatives from the area are said to be interested in Ellis’ seat in the Senate: Garnet Coleman, Borris Miles and Senfronia Thompson.
Ellis had been vying to permanently replace fellow Democrat Lee, who died in January but remained on the March 1 primary ballot. Gene Locke, a former Houston city attorney, was tapped to finish Lee’s term, which expires at the end of this year. Locke was Ellis’ main opponent Saturday.