SAN ANTONIO -- The Texas governor has announced that he's calling a special election in order to fill the vacant seat of a San Antonio senator who announced his intent to resign just days ago.
Texas state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, said his resignation would be effective June 21.
The vacant District 19 seat includes Brewster, Crockett, Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Kinney, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Real, Reeves, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde and Zavala counties and parts of Atascosa and Bexar counties.
Abbott announced Tuesday that the special election date is set for July 31.
According to the proclamation, candidates who wish 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. on Monday, June 25.
Early voting by personal appearance will begin on Wednesday, July 16.
In February, Uresti was found guilty of 11 counts of fraud in what prosecutors called a Ponzi scheme tied to an oil and gas company.
In April, a federal judge denied a new trial for Uresti. At the time, Uresti’s attorneys said they planned on appealing. Uresti wasn't up for re-election until 2020.
Uresti is schedule to be sentenced on June 26. He faces the possibility of years in federal prison and millions in restitution.
Uresti’s statement concerning his resignation is as follows:
"After 22 years of public service to the great State of Texas - both as the State Representative for District 118 and the State Senator for District 19, I formally announce my resignation as State Senator effective June 21, 2018.
“Serving the people and children in our great State has been both an honor and a privilege. I have enjoyed meeting so many amazing Texans - Democrats, Republicans, Independents, fellow veterans, small business women and men, and thousands of children from San Antonio all the way to the Big Bend.
“Working together we have achieved great accomplishments over these 22 years. The one achievement that makes me the proudest is forming the “Blue Ribbon Task Force” and passing laws that helped to protect children from abuse and neglect. It has always been my primary mission to do everything possible to ensure that no child would be abused, neglected, sexually assaulted, bullied, or hurt in any way. With your help, we made children our top priority and helped to make a significant difference in children’s lives across my district and the state of Texas. I believe if the life of even one child was saved or was not abused due to our work, then my 22 years of service was a success.
“As you know, I am in the process of ensuring that justice is served. The recent events have had a significant impact on my life, my family and my constituents. I need to attend to my personal matters and properly care for my family. So, keeping in mind the best interests of my constituents and my family, I believe it to be most prudent that I step down from my elected office to focus on these important issues.
“Moving forward, my priority will be to continue to ensure justice is done and working to help children across Texas. During the last year, some of the media has been unfair, inaccurate, or sensational when it was hurtful, not necessary or simply not true. Nonetheless, I know what I did and what I did not do.
“It has always been my intention to do what was right for the constituents of District 19 and for Texas. To the extent any of you feel I let you down, please grant me forgiveness.
“I am asking that Governor Abbott call a special election on the next uniformed election date to fill my vacated Senate District 19 seat. The district will require continued representation to prepare for the 86th Legislative Session. Holding the special election in conjunction with the November 2018 elections will save the 17 counties and the taxpayers thousands of dollars.
“I humbly ask that you remember all the good things that my family has done to try and help our community, especially our children and veterans. Please continue to support my brothers, Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector Albert Uresti, and state Representative Tomas Uresti.
“During these difficult and trying times, I have been humbled by true friends and family who have remained steadfast by my side. Most importantly, I know that God will lead me and my family through these troubled waters. With His blessing, in the end, I know I will persevere.
“Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.
“May God continue to bless the children of Texas and our great state.