Nearly two dozen candidates filed for the special election to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington) in a district that has become increasingly competitive in general elections over the past decade. President Trump carried the district by 3 points over Joe Biden in 2020, and the average Republican won the district by just over 6 points. Trump won the district by 9 points over Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Mitt Romney carried it over President Obama by 17 points in 2012.

This is not a general election, and turnout is expected to fall well short of the 69% of registered voters who came to the polls in November. The 2018 special election for CD27, which was held in June, drew 15% of the number of voters as in the 2016 general election. A similar result for CD6 would result in around 55K votes cast.

All candidates run on the same ballot regardless of party, and the top two candidates advance to a runoff, regardless of party, if no one secures a majority vote. Given the number of Republicans (11) and Democrats (10) in the race, a runoff is almost certain. The question is, what will be the partisan makeup of the runoff?

The last time a field this size ran in a special election was 1993, when 24 candidates filed to win the unexpired term of former U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D). There were 10 Republicans, five Democrats including the appointed incumbent, one Libertarian, six independents and two other minor party candidates. The Republicans collectively received 58.2% of the vote to the Democrats’ collective 40.5%, and the minor party and independent candidates combined for 1.3%. Eighteen of the candidates each received less than 1% of the vote, 16 of which received less than 0.5%. That left three Republicans and three Democrats with more than 1% of the vote.

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