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It's 'Anyone's Guess' Who Will End Up In The Runoff Expected For Texas' 6th Congressional District

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard:

An election to replace late Republican Congressman Ron Wright in Texas’ 6th District is likely headed for a runoff. Twenty-three candidates are vying for Wright’s seat, including Wright’s wife, Susan Wright.

Jim Riddlesperger, political science professor at Texas Christian University, says it’s "anyone’s guess" who will end up in a runoff. Texas election law requires a runoff if a candidate doesn’t receive at least 50% of the votes. And a runoff will feature the top two vote-getters.

The historically conservative district that’s south and southeast of Dallas has some potential to flip to a Democrat, Riddlesperger says. Texas has become more competitive over the last 10 years, and Democrats tried to capitalize on that in 2020 by attempting to flip the seat Wright eventually won. A flip could be possible if more Democrats turn out (turnout is usually low during special and runoff elections.) Still, Riddlesperger says a Republican is more likely to prevail.

Susan Wright is one strong contender. Former President Donald Tump endorsed her on Monday. But Riddlesperger says she’s one among several “Trumpy” candidates. Others in the race worked in the former president’s administration.

“So one really doesn’t know how much impact that endorsement will be. But it certainly put its thumb on the scale,” he said.

On the flip side, there’s also an anti-Trump Republican running.

“The dynamics in this election are very, very weird,” he said.

As quirky as the race may be, Riddlesperger says it also represents a microcosm of American politics. That includes the political divide between rural and urban voters. The district’s population includes a mix of both.

“It’s an interesting district to watch in the sense that it kind of has both elements of urban and rural Texas in it,” he said.

April 27 is the last day of early voting. Election Day is May 1.

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Caroline Covington is Texas Standard's digital producer/reporter. She joined the team full time after finishing her master's in journalism at the UT J-School. She specializes in mental health reporting, and has a growing interest in data visualization. Before Texas Standard, Caroline was a freelancer for public radio, digital news outlets and podcasts, and produced a podcast pilot for Audible. Prior to journalism, she wrote and edited for marketing teams in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. She has a bachelor's in biology from UC Santa Barbara and a master's in French Studies from NYU.
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