AUSTIN, Texas -- Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt resigned from her position Tuesday to run for an open state senate seat being vacated by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin.

“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 speech at the end of a commissioners court meeting. "I’m running to succeed Sen. Watson. I can’t fill his shoes, but I am running to succeed him."

Eckhardt is the second candidate to enter the race to replace Watson, who will leave the post at the end of April to become the first dean of the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs.

On Saturday, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, became the first candidate to officially launch a bid for District 14, which covers Bastrop County and part of Travis County.

Gov. Greg Abbott has not yet called a special election for the seat.

The race could be crowded. Others who have expressed interest in running include Austin City Council member Greg Casar, two Austin-area attorneys, Adam Loewy and Jose “Chito” Vela, as well as Pflugerville City Council member Rudy Metayer.