8 candidates on Texas House special ballot

Election to fill vacated seat set for Aug. 31; Midlothian’s Griffin, Wickliffe officially file

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
Scott Goodwin
Pierina Otiniano

The filing deadline has passed, and a field of eight candidates will run in the Texas State House District 10 special election to fill an open seat that was vacated by last month's election of Jake Ellzey to the U.S. House.

The total includes five Republicans, one Democrat, one Libertarian, and one independent. The Democrat, Ennis resident and immigration attorney Pierina Otiniano, announced her candidacy on Thursday.

“Our community is tired of politicians who walk in lockstep with his/her party in Austin, pushing extreme agendas that are far out of step with Ellis and Henderson County families,” Otiniano said. “While other candidates in this race should be advocating to fix our failing electrical grid or creating jobs, they are spending their time pushing one divisive culture war after the next. We need leaders in Austin who are focused on helping families with daily challenges, not engaging in partisan fights.”

Otiniano is a first-generation American who immigrated to the United States from Peru at the age of six. She has built a career as an immigration attorney advocating for the underdog and making sure that working-people get a fair shot in the U.S. justice system.

Other publicly-declared candidates for the open seat so far are Republicans John Wray and Brian Harrison. Wray formerly held the seat for three terms before deciding not to run for re-election in 2020. Harrison was among a field of 23 candidates for the U.S. House special election and ran strong in Ellis County, finishing second to Ellzey in the county on May 1.

Independent Scott Goodwin of Waxahachie threw his hat in the ring as well. Goodwin, a native Texan who moved to Ellis County during the pandemic, is a small businessman and cofounder of Obsidian Solution in Dallas. Obsidian is a product development and solution provider for individual entrepreneurs and major companies nationally.

“I am tired of the political (in)fighting, the media and big tech censorship and the erosion of principals and personal responsibility,” Goodwin told the Mirror on Friday. “This is why I have decided to run as an independent.”

Libertarian Matt Savino of Seven Points in Henderson County, who listed his occupation as "I.T. support," is on the ballot once again. Savino ran for the District 10 seat in 2020 and came in second to Ellzey, who had no Democratic opposition.

The other candidates are:

• Republican Kevin Griffin, a Midlothian general manager

• Republican Susan Mellina Hayslip, a Waxahachie attorney

• Republican Clark Wickliffe, a member of the Midlothian City Council

All candidates will appear on a single ballot, regardless of party affiliation. The top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff if no candidate receives a majority of votes.

Early voting in the special election for House District 10 will be held Aug. 23-27, and Election Day is scheduled for Aug. 31.