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Recently Posted News & Analysis

CD6 Field Swells to at Least 17 and Other News for March 1

CD6 special: At least 17 candidates have taken a formal step toward running to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington), and at least four have filed for the race. Friday is the filing deadline. Check out our Special Election Crib Sheet for the latest candidate filings.

HD47: 2020 Republican nominee Justin Berry announced he would run for a House seat in 2022. Berry, a police office, narrowly lost the 2020 general election to Rep. Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin), 49%-48%. He raised more than $2.2M for the election cycle, more than double the incumbent’s $1M.

UT/TT Poll: Around three quarters of self-identified Republicans believe official U.S. election results are inaccurate, but around three quarters of Republicans believe Texas election results are accurate, according to the latest Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune poll (PDF).

President Biden’s job approval rating was 45/44. Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) overall job approval rating was 46/39 and his response to the pandemic was rated 44/41. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s (R) job approval rating was 37/36. The job approval rating for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) was 45/43 and was 32/42 for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R).

Former President Trump’s favorability rating was 46/46.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

Wright Releases Endorsements and Some Poetry News

CD6 special: The Susan Wright (R) campaign released a list of endorsements demonstrating a wide level of support among elected officials and Republican precinct chairs and activists. Endorsers include:

  • David Cook (R-Mansfield), Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth), Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) and Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington), and former Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Arlington)
  • S. Reps. Jodey Arrington (R-Lubbock) and Lance Gooden (R-Terrell)
  • Tarrant Co. Sheriff Bill Waybourn (R) and District Atty. Sharon Wilson (R)
  • Ellis Co. Clerk Krystal Valdez (R) and Co. Comm. Paul Perry (R)
  • Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams and council members Raul Gonzalez and Andrew Piel
  • Corsicana council members Jeff Smith and Chris Woolsey
  • Corsicana bakery owner and former HD8 candidate Thomas McNutt (R)
  • 16 State Republican Executive Committee members and about two dozen local party leaders and precinct chairs; and
  • Republican donors Darwin and Doug Deason.

At least 10 candidates have taken a formal step toward running to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington). The filing deadline is March 3.

Poetry Quatrain: Four Poetry residents have established state campaign committees in the past two weeks. Thomas Anderson, Brian Vinson, Steven Welsh and Simeon White all indicated they were seeking “other office” in their filings with the Texas Ethics Commission.

It turns out they are among 14 candidates in the newly incorporated municipality’s first-ever election, which is May 1. In November, Poetry’s residents voted, 76%-24%, to incorporate as a municipality. The town council will be comprised of a mayor and five council members elected at large.

Section 252.005, Election Code provides that candidates must file campaign treasurer appointments with the state commission if a municipal governing body “has not been formed” and the municipality is “situated in more than one county.” Poetry lies in Hunt and Kaufman Cos. about six miles north of Terrell.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

At Least 10 in Race to Succeed Wright, More Likely to Enter

At least 10 candidates have taken a formal step toward running in the May 1 special election to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington), including his wife Susan, who announced her candidacy today (Wednesday) and established a campaign committee for the race. She was endorsed by Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington) and Tarrant Co. Republican chair Rick Barnes. Tinderholt had been reportedly considering the race.

Freshman Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie) established a campaign committee for the race. He lost to Wright in the 2018 Republican runoff, 52%-48%. At least four other Republicans have entered the race: Mansfield tax attorney John Anthony Castro, Arlington finance executive Mike Egan, Dallas writer and producer Monty Markland, and Austin/Seattle, Wash. entrepreneur Asa Palagi. Ellzey would not have to resign his House seat to run in this special election. Castro formed a campaign committee to challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) in 2020 but did not file for the office. Palagi ran for Washington governor as an independent in 2020 but withdrew before the election.

Katrina Pierson, a former campaign spokesperson for President Trump, and Brian Harrison, a former chief of staff of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services during the Trump Administration, are considering the race. Others are likely to jump in as well. Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams and Fort Worth Police Officers Assoc. president Manny Ramirez are also reportedly considering the race.

At least four Democrats have announced their candidacy or established a campaign committee: Arlington sociologist Lydia Bean, Dallas developer Matt Hinterlong, Fort Worth educator Shawn Lassiter and Waxahachie songwriter Jana Lynne Sanchez. Bean lost a 2020 race for HD93 (45%). Lassiter withdrew from a Fort Worth city council race to run for this seat. Sanchez lost the 2018 general election for CD6 to Wright (45%).

At least one Democrat is not seeking the seat: Rep. Chris Turner (D-Arlington). “The best way for me to serve Tarrant County is to focus all my time and energy on the huge set of challenges facing our state in the current legislative session,” he said in a statement.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

Spiller Wins HD68 Runoff Election

Jacksboro attorney David Spiller (R) defeated Craig Carter (R), 62%-38%, in today’s (Tuesday) special runoff election to serve the unexpired House term of Sen. Drew Springer (R-Muenster).

Spiller won all but three of the district’s 22 counties. He took 85% of the vote in Jack Co., his home county. He received nearly the same number of votes in the runoff (4,078) as in the January 23 special election (4,010). Carter received nearly 900 more votes in the runoff than in the special election.

Turnout was 6.6% of registered voters, down from 9.1% for the special election. Turnout was highest in Jack (17.4%), King (12.2%), Throckmorton (10.9%) and Motley (10.6%) Cos. Those same four counties had the highest turnout in the special election. Runoff turnout was lowest in Crosby (3.2%), Collingsworth (4.0%), Fisher (4.0%) and Garza (4.3%) Cos.

Spiller finished the special election 25.8 percentage points ahead of Carter. It was the third largest gap between runoff qualifiers for a congressional or legislative special election since 1996.

CD6 special: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered a May 1 special election to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington). Candidates must file with the Secretary of State by March 3. Early voting will be April 19-27. At least 13 candidates have filed campaign paperwork, announced their candidacies or are believed to be considering the race, including Reps. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie) and Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington).

Local Elections: Rep. Scott Sanford (R-McKinney) filed a bill that would require candidates for municipal office to run with partisan affiliations. House Bill 2092 does not appear to require primary elections or other nominating requirements for local office. Current law permits home-rule cities to have partisan elections, but none do.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

Special Election News for February 21

HD68 special: Just under 1K people voted early in person or by mail through Friday, the end of an abbreviated and weather-challenged early voting period. Outstanding mail ballots will likely push total early votes above the previous low of 1,037 for the 2016 special runoff election for HD120.

Since 1996, 17 candidates in a special election for Congress or the legislature in Texas finished the special election at least 10 points ahead of their runoff opponents, including Spiller. Ten of the previous 16 first-place finishers went on to win the runoff, including four of the five first-place candidates who finished at least 20 percentage points ahead of their rival in their respective special elections:

  • 28.7% – U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla over Ciro Rodriguez, CD23 (2006) – LOST
  • 26.2% – Diego Bernal over Nunzio Previtera, HD123 (2015) – WON
  • 25.8% – David Spiller over Craig Carter, HD68 (2021)
  • 24.3% – Craig Estes over Greg Underwood, SD30 (2001) – WON
  • 21.7% – John Cyrier over Brent Golemon, HD17 (2015) – WON
  • 21.5% – Brandon Creighton over Steve Toth, SD4 (2014) – WON
  • 19.9% – Mike O’Day over Randy Weber, HD29 (2007) – LOST
  • 19.6% – Ciro Rodriguez over Juan F. Solis III, CD28 (1997) – WON
  • 18.6% – Fred Rangel over Ray Lopez, HD125 (2019) – LOST
  • 17.9% – Trey Martinez Fischer over Jose Menendez, SD26 (2015) – LOST
  • 17.0% ­– Ken Bentsen over Dolly McKenna, CD25 (1996) – WON
  • 16.8% – Carlos Uresti over Sylvia Mendelsohn, HD118 (1997) – WON
  • 15.9% – Sarah Eckhardt over Eddie Rodriguez, SD14 (2020) – WON (opponent withdrew)
  • 13.9% – Ina Minjarez over Delicia Herrera, HD115 (2015) – WON
  • 12.4% – Lorraine Birabil over James Armstrong III, HD100 (2019) – WON
  • 12.3% – Chris Bell over Joan Huffman, SD17 (2008) – LOST
  • 10.7% – Carolyn Bilski over Leighton Schubert, HD13 (2015) – LOST

Tuesday is Election Day. Our live coverage will begin at 7 p.m. CST.

CD6 special: Fort Worth educator Shawn Lassiter has withdrawn from the race for city council to run for the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright’s (R-Arlington) seat as a Democrat. She is at least the second Democrat to declare for the race, joining 2018 nominee Jana Lynne Sanchez. At least three Republicans have announced for the race: Mansfield entrepreneur John Anthony Castro, Dallas writer and producer Monty Markland, and Austin/Seattle entrepreneur and former Washington gubernatorial candidate Asa Palagi. Susan Wright, the late congressman’s wife, is considering the race. No date has been set for the special election, but it is expected to coincide with the May 1 general election.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

Weather-challenged Early Voting Ends in HD68

Correction: In yesterday’s report, we erroneously said Tuesday’s special runoff election for HD68 was Saturday. It is indeed Tuesday.

HD68 special: Early voting concluded today (Friday) as North Texas continued to dig out of this week’s winter storms. Through yesterday (Thursday), just under 400 people have voted early, representing 0.4% of registered voters. Five counties have not reported any votes cast, likely the result of poll and office closures.

The candidates’ runoff campaign finance reports were due Tuesday. Because of outages caused by this week’s winter storms, we are just now able to access them online. David Spiller out-raised Craig Carter, $137K to $9K, and outspent him, $113K to $49K. Spiller held a $62K-$41K edge in cash on hand as of February 13.

Spiller’s largest contributors for the period included Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC ($25K), Texas Parent PAC ($10K), Assoc. of Texas Professional Educators PAC ($5K), Lake Kiowa banker Ryan Morris ($5K), Gainesville oil and gas executive Cody Ortowski ($5K), Gainesville energy executive John Schmitz ($5K), Houston homebuilder Richard Weekley ($5K), Texas Medical Assoc. TEXPAC ($4K), Rural Friends of Texas Electric Cooperatives ($3K) and Texas Hospital Assoc. PAC ($3K). Carter’s largest contributor was Dallas retiree Dave Munson ($3K).

We will have live coverage on Tuesday beginning at 7 p.m. CST.

Texas Alliance for Life PAC endorsed Spiller.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

Early Voting in HD68 Hampered by Winter Weather

Like many Texans, we were knocked offline for a while during the past week because of the winter weather. We hope each of you is safe, warm and healthy.

HD68 special: Winter weather crippled early voting, which ends tomorrow (Friday). According to data posted by the Secretary of State, exactly 100 people voted through yesterday (Wednesday), the second day of the early voting period, corresponding to 0.1% of registered voters. Polling places in most of the district’s 22 counties have experienced closures or limited hours since early voting began on Tuesday.

Jacksboro ISD trustee David Spiller (R) faces Nocona boot manufacturer Craig Carter (R). Saturday is Election Day. The winner will serve the unexpired House term of Sen. Drew Springer (R-Muenster).

CD32: 2020 Republican nominee Genevieve Collins has become the Texas director for Americans for Prosperity.

SEN: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) was criticized for flying to Cancun for a family vacation while the state was in the grips of a paralyzing series of winter storms. Cruz returned today (Thursday) after the story broke.

“Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon,” Cruz said in a statement. “My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas.” He later said that the trip was “obviously a mistake.”

In December, Cruz and many others criticized Austin Mayor Steve Adler for filming a video asking people to stay home to slow the spread of Covid-19 from Cabo San Lucas, where he was attending a family wedding.

Cruz is not up for re-election until 2024.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

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Jeff Blaylock

Jeff Blaylock


Jeff is a political junkie, longtime public policy wonk and former Texas Legislature staffer who has worked political campaigns in Texas and several other states, ranging from school boards to legislators to governors to referenda. He is a public and government affairs consultant based in Austin, Texas, who offers his keen insights about Lone Star State politics as Texas Election Source.

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