A longtime GOP congressional seat is on the ballot in Texas on Saturday — could a Democrat take it?

Texas Politics
APTOPIX 2016 Election New Hampshire Votes_241856

A voter marks a ballot inside a voting booth (AP Photo/David Goldman)

AUSTIN (Texas Tribune) — Saturday is election day in the special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, R-Arlington. The polls close at 7 p.m. Central time.

Twenty-three candidates are on the ballot, meaning a runoff is highly likely. As long as no one receives a majority of the vote, the top two candidates will face off in a runoff for the seat.

Two big questions loom in the race: Will any Democrats make the runoff in the longtime GOP-held seat? And what impact will a late Donald Trump endorsement have?


Democrats targeted the district in 2020, but fell far short. Wright won reelection to the seat by 9 percentage points. But the district has been trending blue in statewide results, going from a district that Mitt Romney won by 17 points in 2012 to one that Trump carried by 12 points in 2016 — and just 3 in 2020.

The field is vying to finish Wright’s term following his February death after being hospitalized with COVD-19 and living for years with cancer.

Wright’s widow, Susan Wright, is a frontrunner in the race. Trump endorsed her Monday, surprising some Republicans who thought he would stay out, at least until the runoff. And he pitched her during a tele-town hall Thursday night, invoking her late husband’s legacy multiple times.

But other Republicans have attempted to tout their relationships with the former president. One of them is Brian Harrison, an Ellis County native who was chief of staff at the Department of Health and Human Services under Trump. Another is Dan Rodimer, the former pro wrestler who has been relying heavily on the fact that Trump endorsed him when he ran for Congress last year in Nevada.

State Rep. Jake Ellzey, R-Waxahachie, was the leading Republican fundraiser in the race, according to pre-election reports.

On the Democratic side, Jana Lynne Sanchez has the support of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus PAC. Her most visible intraparty opponents have been Lydia Bean, a 2020 nominee for a battleground state House district in the region, and Shawn Lassiter, an education nonprofit leader from Fort Worth.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at www.texastribune.org. The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans – and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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