President Trump tweeted that he would nominate U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Heath) to become the next Director of National Intelligence following Dan Coats’s August 15 departure. Ratcliffe’s nomination requires U.S. Senate confirmation. Trump would name an acting director who will serve in the meantime.

U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe

U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe

If he is confirmed, a special election would be required to fill his unexpired term. It is a “strong Republican” district. CD4 was 22 points redder than the state as a whole in 2018 and has been trending steadily redder over the past two decades. If there were a special runoff election, it would likely be between two Republicans.

The special election would be a “free” race for any current legislators because none would need to give up their seats to seek Ratcliffe’s, up to a point. The timing of the special election, and particularly a special runoff election, could complicate legislators’ 2020 efforts as the filing deadline will have passed. If the special election coincided with the November 5 constitutional amendment election, and it went to a runoff, then the runoff would not occur until after the filing deadline for a spot on the 2020 ballot. If the special election were later than November 5, then candidates could conceivably be running for CD4 and re-election to their own seats during the same timeframe, but on different ballots.

The race could be particularly attractive for Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper), who was just elected to a four-year term in 2018.

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