Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, vying for Texas Senate seat, officially resigns

by | May 13, 2020 | Politics, Texas Elections

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt presided over her last Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday. 

Travis County’s top executive and first female county judge announced plans to resign in March when she launched her campaign to replace retiring Texas Senator Kirk Watson, a 13-year veteran of the chamber and former mayor of Austin. 

On Tuesday, Eckhardt swore in her replacement, former Travis County Judge Sam Briscoe, marking Briscoe’s return to public service after retiring from the county judge position in 2015.

Prior to being elected County Judge in 2014, Eckhardt had served on the Commissioner’s Court representing Precinct Two. As judge, she built her reputation as a progressive executive and fierce opponent of Gov. Greg Abbott. 

Most recently, she has tussled with the governor and indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton over the county’s stay-at-home order. 

Eckhardt now enters a state Senate race where she’ll try to replicate her 2014 success and become one of the most prominent women elected to the chamber in recent memory. Currently, only nine women serve in the Texas Senate. Eckhardt would become the third Democratic woman in the chamber, potentially joining Senators Judith Zaffirini and Beverly Powell.

In March, State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), the longest serving member of the Travis County delegation to the Texas House, also announced his bid for the vacating Texas Senate seat. Progressive firebrand and Austin City Council member Greg Casar – no stranger to conflict with Governor Abbott himself- announced last week he won’t seek this open seat, deciding instead to focus on his work representing his district during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the weeks ahead, Texas Signal will profile the candidates for Travis County Judge and Senate District 14. Stay tuned.

Photo: | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at

Are you tired of Texas Republicans pushing big lies and trying to steal your vote? So are we, that’s why we’re fighting back against the right-wing lie machine. Our commitment to ethical, fact-based journalism is vital to our democracy, and we can’t do it without you. Consider donating today to help us stay in this fight.

Continue Reading

Lina Hidalgo Announces Mental Health Leave

Lina Hidalgo Announces Mental Health Leave

This afternoon Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced she has been taking a leave of absence from her position to seek treatment for depression. The Houston Chronicle broke the news about Hidalgo, who has been at an inpatient facility since July. Throughout her...