Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt resigns to prep for state Senate run

A photo of Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt has officially resigned. (Courtesy Travis County)

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt has officially resigned. (Courtesy Travis County)

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt resigned her post in preparation to run for Kirk Watson’s recently vacated Texas Senate seat at a March 10 meeting of the Travis County Commissioners Court.

Commissioners voted unanimously to accept Eckhardt’s resignation and also voted to name former Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe as her interim replacement until a permanent successor is named in November. Biscoe previously served the court from 1998-2014.

“This is the most fun and challenging job I’ve ever had,” Eckhardt said, through tears. “I love Travis County.”

Eckhardt’s resignation follows an announcement she made via Twitter Feb. 18 saying that she was considering a run for state Sen. Kirk Watson’s vacated seat—after Watson said he would step down in order to serve as the first dean of the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs.

“I am considering running in the special election to step into [Watson’s] shoes in Senate District 14,” Eckhardt wrote, citing health care, transportation, redistricting and criminal justice reform as key issues motivating her run.

“If I win, I will switch out Senator Watson’s shoes for the first pair of heels to walk in that position. I am the first woman Travis County Judge. I am considering running to be the first woman Senator in District 14,” she wrote.

Candidates for state Senate are not permitted to concurrently hold another “lucrative” public office in Texas, per Article 3, Sect. 19 of the Texas Constitution. If Eckhardt had officially announced her candidacy for Watson’s seat prior to tendering her resignation from Travis County, her announcement would have instantly triggered a resignation, according to a representative from Travis County.

Eckhardt will continue in her position as Travis County Judge until her interim successor is sworn in.

The special election to fill Watson's seat is tentatively expected to take place May 2. State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez has announced his candidacy for the State Senate seat, and Austin City Council Member Greg Casar has also filed initial paperwork to run for the post.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


Austin Bouldering Project currently operates a gym on Springdale Road in Austin. (Courtesy Austin Bouldering Project)
Local rock-climbing gym to open new location in South Austin this fall

The new gym will have comparable offerings to the original in East Austin.

Tents have become a common sight throughout Austin including along Cesar Chavez Street downtown, but with the passage of Proposition B the city may now consider moving unsheltered homeless individuals to designated sites. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Hall notebook: Designated campsites for the homeless are back on the table

City staff had previously dismissed developing official camping locations in 2019, but new directives from City Council this week could revive the concept in Austin.

Wag-A-Bag is headquartered in Round Rock. (Megan Cardona/Community Impact Newspaper)
Wag-A-Bag to operate under new ownership, name; Austin, TxDOT at odds over I-35 overhaul; and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Austin area.

Stephanie Hayden-Howard will become an assistant city manager in Austin on May 10. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Role changes coming for health officials leading Austin-Travis County COVID-19 efforts

Dr. Desmar Walkes will take over as Austin's next medical director and local health authority as Dr. Mark Escott and Stephanie Hayden-Howard transition to new roles with the city.

The brewery and kitchen‘s new spot will offer a larger indoor setting area than its original. (Courtesy Suds Monkey Brewing Co.)
Dripping Springs brewery relocates to new, expanded facility closer to Austin

Suds Monkey Brewing Co. opened in Dripping Springs in 2017.

A pilot Austin Police Department cadet class is now set to commence in June under an updated training regimen and with additional city and community oversight on the APD academy's culture and curriculum. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council votes to restart APD cadet training in June, with framework for ongoing reviews of pilot academy

The Austin Police Department's 144th cadet class will now kick off training next month, with continued oversight of APD's instruction and culture throughout the 34-week academy process.

Marco's Pizza will open a South Austin location later this month. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Pizzeria opening later this month, a local animal shelter hits a milestone and more South Austin business news

Here are updates from The Bungalow, PAWS Shelter of Central Texas and more.

Holland Photo Imaging celebrates 40 years in business this year. (Courtesy Holland Photo Imaging)
The latest business news in South Central Austin

1. Holland Photo Imaging, located at 2125 Goodrich Ave., Ste. A, Austin, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in the community this year. Founded in 1981 by Pete Holland, the business has been owned by residents Brian and Morgan Morrison since 2006. Holland Photo Imaging offers film processing, printing, framing, photo restoration and archiving services. 512-442-4274.

A sign advertises a property for rent in Austin on May 6. Local eviction orders remain in place through August 1 protecting most tenants from eviction. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Local eviction moratoriums remain in effect despite federal judge’s decision

The May 5 ruling from a U.S. District Court judge striking down a federal moratorium does not affect orders in place in Austin or Travis County.

Q2 Stadium in North Austin
U.S. women’s national soccer team to debut Q2 Stadium next month

The USWNT takes on the Nigerian national team at Q2 Stadium ahead of the summer Olympic Games.