And they’re off! It’s the first Saturday of May, meaning Derby Day and it’s special election day, too in TX-06!
TOP DEMOCRAT FINISHED 3RD CONCEDES SUNDAY 10AM CDT
While the AP called the race for Susan Wright advancing to the runoff election for TX-06, they’ve not yet done the same for 2nd place finisher Jake Ellzey. Academic now with Sanchez concession, so it’s on to the Wright-Ellzey runoff.
Once Texas Governor Greg Abbott announces the date of the special election runoff, there will be more to discuss on TX-06 (the special runoff election will likely be Saturday, June 5th which would coincide with regular runoff elections for mayors of both Arlington and Ft. Worth, the two largest cities in TX-06, and dates for runoffs for regular elections are not called by the governor. There are two Waxahachie city council runoffs on June 5 (Jake Ellzey’s home town), and likely in other cities and towns within the TX-06. School board seats do not go to runoff elections in Texas, but are winner-take-all).
Saturday is the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby, normally scheduled for the 1st Saturday in May.
UPDATE 9:08PM CDT: Susan Wright has made it to the runoff, and Jake Ellzey is on track to join her there:
UPDATE: Navarro County drops, returns at 7:46PM CDT, Wright takes 10-vote lead, Democrats still currently shutout of runoff
UPDATE: First set of returns, 7:12PM CDT:
Growing up in Texas, for most local governments (and in Texas, that’s municipal and local school boards only), first Saturday in May is election day.
But in the TX-06, it’s also special election day, and voters in southeast Tarrant County (portion of Ft. Worth, most of Arlington), and voters in Ellis and Navarro counties, in addition to their city and school board candidates, voters must choose in a blanket/jungle election who should succeed Congressman Ron Wright (R), who passed away due to complications of COVID and lung cancer.
The field of candidates for TX-06 on the ballot, 23, is larger than the Kentucky Derby field of 20 3-year olds.
And like the Derby, one of the candidates has been “scratched”, a minor Republican candidate ended his campaign and endorsed one of the frontrunners.
While there are 23 candidates on the ballot, this race boils down to one of 4, possibly 5 candidates and given the large field, no candidate is expected to poll 50%+1, and a runoff among the top-2, regardless of party, will take place in either late May or early-mid June.
Susan Wright (R), the widow of Ron Wright, is a heavy favorite to be one of the two candidates in the runoff. This past week alone, Wright was endorsed by:
- Former President Trump
- Club for Growth
- Elise Stefanik’s E-PAC
- Susan B. Anthony Fund
- A minor candidate who ended his campaign
Why all of the endorsements of Wright in the past week? Possibly because of the polling in the past two weeks indicating state Representative J.K. “Jake” Ellzey (R, Waxahachie) had the momentum, as evidenced by being endorsed by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and former Texas Governor and Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who is still very popular in Texas.
Two weeks ago, the Club for Growth Action super PAC began running negative TV commercials against Ellzey, coming off FEC filings indicating Ellzey raised the most money of all the candidates in the special election.
With Ellzey surging, Texas Republicans could very well shut the Democrats out of the runoff and remove any threat of the seat being flipped.
The other frontrunning candidates with a chance to be in the runoff, in order of probability:
- Jana Lynne Sanchez (D), who lost to Ron Wright in 2018 for the open seat
- Brian E. Harrison (R), who was Trump HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s chief-of-staff
- Shawn Lassiter (D), the far Left’s “progressive” choice
Two candidates who do not expect to factor into the runoff of the remaining 18 candidates are former WWE wrestler Dan Rodimer, who, in spite of Trump’s endorsement of Wright, still touts the 2020 endorsement when Rodimer ran for the NV-03 last fall.
While Rodimer had some of the more creative commercials on TV, polling indicates he has not gained traction with north Texans after he relocated his family from Nevada to Texas earlier this year.
And last, and in many Republicans’ views least, is Congressman Adam Kinzinger’s (R, IL-16) choice in the TX-06 special: Michael Wood, a former Marine who, like Kinzinger, wants to move the Republican Party away from Donald Trump completely.
Kinzinger was campaigning in north Texas this past week with Wood:
Through early voting, over 31K ballots have been cast in the special election, and Election Day polls opened at 7AM CDT, and will close at 7PM CDT.
So will the runoff be between the 4 to 5 frontrunners, or will a “dark horse” surprise everyone and win a spot in the runoff?
Will the Democrats be shutout of the runoff?
We’ll know tonight.