Special Election Set for Bryan Slaton’s Seat

Bryan Slaton | Image by Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott set November 7, 2023, as the special election date to replace former Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Royse City) in the Texas House of Representatives.

Slaton’s former seat, Texas House District 2, represents Hunt, Hopkins, and Van Zandt Counties.

The disgraced former state lawmaker, previously considered one of the most conservative Republicans in the Texas House, was expelled from the chamber after allegations of an extramarital affair with a young intern were made public.

An internal Texas House investigation concluded that Slaton had sex with a 19-year-old intern after providing her with alcohol and getting her drunk. Slaton allegedly pressured the girl to keep the affair quiet, conducting loyalty tests via texts that were uncovered in the investigation, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The Texas House voted unanimously to expel him for his behavior on May 9, even though he had resigned the day before. Slaton was the first Texas House member to be expelled from the Texas House since 1927. Members expelled Slaton to bar him from receiving his House salary and benefits, which he still would have been eligible for after his resignation unless he was formally expelled.

House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) condemned Slaton after the expulsion vote, calling his conduct predatory.

“Predatory behavior merits such a consequence. I hope the action we’ve taken here today sends a message that sexual harassment and inappropriate activities in the workplace will not be condoned and they are unacceptable,” Phelan said.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Phelan drew scrutiny over his own alleged workplace behavior when video footage showing the speaker slurring his words and appearing unsteady on his feet prompted observers to claim he was drunk.

Six candidates for the special election have already announced their intention to run for Slaton’s vacant seat, each entering into a “jungle primary” that pits all contestants against one another in a single round of voting. If none of the candidates reach 50% of the vote — which is likely — a subsequent runoff election will be held to decide the final winner.

The November 7 special election is also the date of many municipal elections around Texas and the date Texans vote on constitutional amendments passed through the 2023 regular legislative session.

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