(The Center Square) – A special election will be held Nov. 7 to fill the empty seat for District 2 of the Texas House of Representatives.
The district covers Hunt, Hopkins and Van Zandt counties in northeast Texas.
The position became vacant after the Texas House unanimously voted to remove state Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, from office on May 9.
Candidates who want to have their names placed on the special election ballot must file their applications with the Secretary of State no later than 5 p.m. Sept. 6.
The House voted to oust Slaton after the General Investigating Committee unanimously recommended that he be removed. The committee conducted an investigation and concluded that Slaton violated House Rule 15 by “engaging in harassment prohibited by law … by both inappropriate physical behavior and having sexual intercourse with a legislative aide working in his state office and over whom he had primary responsibility for overseeing and who was unable to give effective consent” because she'd been drinking alcohol, the committee determined.
The report also concluded that Slaton violated the House Drug and Alcohol Policy by providing alcohol to the aide, who he knew was under the legal drinking age of 21.
Slaton resigned on May 8 effective immediately in a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott and the clerk of the Texas House of Representatives. His letter didn't mention the accusations. He said he was resigning to spend time with his young family and to find ways to continue to serve his community.
Despite his resignation, the committee recommended that the House vote to remove him because the Texas Constitution stipulates that members who resign still hold their seat until they are replaced. Slaton also would have still qualified to receive a salary, mileage reimbursement and per diem expenses, according to what's known as the “hold over” provision of Section 17, Article XVI of the Texas Constitution. If a member is expelled, the holdover exception doesn't apply. Expulsion was the only way to immediately remove him from office, the committee argued.
Slaton's removal was the first time the House expelled a member since 1927.
Early voting to fill his vacated seat will begin Oct. 23.