Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt resigns to run for Texas Senate

Texas Tribune

Eckhardt was elected Travis County's first female county judge in 2015.

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt is resigning her seat to run for state Senate. Photo credit: Thomas Meredith for The Texas Tribune

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt resigns to run for Texas Senate” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt resigned from her position Tuesday ahead of a run for the open seat in the Democrat-leaning Texas Senate District 14.

“I’m leaving the warmth and friendship of public service at the county to seek public service at the state as your next state senator,” Eckhardt said during a tearful speech at the end of a commissioners court meeting. “I’m running to succeed Senator [Kirk] Watson. I can’t fill his shoes, but I am running to succeed him.”

Eckhardt is the second candidate enter the race to replace retiring state Sen. Kirk Watson, an Austin Democrat, who will resign from office at the end of April to become the first dean of the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs. Over the weekend, longtime state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, became the first candidate to formally launch a bid for the Senate seat, which covers Bastrop County and parts of Travis County.

The special election for the seat has not yet been called by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Eckhardt, who was elected Travis County’s first female county judge in 2015, and Rodriguez, who has served in the House since 2003, could soon be joined in the race by Austin City Council member Greg Casar, who recently filed a campaign treasurer report for the Senate seat.

Others are also eyeing the seat. Another elected official, Pflugerville City Council Member Rudy Metayer, is mulling a bid, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Two Austin-area attorneys, Jose “Chito” Vela and Adam Loewy, have also said they are also seriously considering a run.

Disclosure: The University of Houston has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

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