By Andrea Zelinski

Congressional hopeful Sylvia Garcia on Monday announced plans to step down from her Texas Senate seat in January, officially clearing the way for voters to elect her predecessor before the Legislature returns for its 2019 lawmaking session.

Garcia, the Democratic candidate for the 29th Congressional District, announced she would give up her state Senate seat on Twitter, saying the people in her Houston district deserve uninterrupted representation in the next legislative session. She urged Gov. Greg Abbott to order a special election in conjunction with the Nov. 6 general election so her replacement can begin serving in the Senate at the beginning of the legislative session. She said the timing would help Harris County taxpayers avoid the cost of a separate election.

"Over three legislative sessions, 12,187 votes taken, over 100 bills passed, every action I have taken has been with the goal of ensuring that Senate District 6 and Texas is a place where the American Dream is attainable for everyone; no matter who you are or where you come from," she wrote in her resignation letter to Abbott.

The 29th Congressional District was drawn to heavily favor Democrats, making Garcia a likely shoo-in for the post. She is running against Republican Phillip Aronoff to replace U.S. Rep. Gene Green, a Democrat who retired after more than two decades in Congress.

Political insiders have worried Garcia would be hesitant to give up her current position, which could leave the state Senate seat empty when lawmakers return to Austin for the next legislative session in January. That would mean one less vote for the already outnumbered Democrats in the Senate.

Garcia plans to continue representing the 6th Senate District until Jan. 2, according to the letter. The district includes the north and southeast sides of Houston.

"Thankfully, Sylvia is not done fighting for the people of Texas," said Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa.

Abbott's office did not respond to requests for comment late Monday.

(c)2018 the Houston Chronicle