Sunday, May 2, 2021

Special Election TX-6: National Harbinger?

For political junkies Red State has a fascinating report on the special election that was just held to fill the vacant TX-6 US House seat--a basically suburban district pretty much south of Dallas/Fort Worth. Before we get to the Red State article, here's some demographic info from Wikipedia's TX-6 page. First a demographic profile:

  • 88.7% urban[1]
  • 11.3% rural
Population (2019)818,442[2]
Median household
Cook PVIR+6[3]

Next, recent presidential election results--21st century:

2000PresidentBush 66 – 34%
2004PresidentBush 66 – 34%
2008PresidentMcCain 57 – 42%
2012PresidentRomney 58 – 41%
2016PresidentTrump 54 – 42%
2020PresidentTrump 51 – 48%

Pay attention to that last line item, because it's important for what we're going to see--in 2020 this was only a Trump +3 district (nope, I'm not going there--don't need to for this).

Here's the Red State article. The title might seem counter intuitive, given that this is a pretty solid Red district:

Democrats Took a Gut Punch in a Texas Special Election Last Night

You didn’t hear much about it, but Texas‘ 6th Congressional District held a special election last night to fill recently passed Rep. Ron Wright’s seat. The two winners, Susan Wright and Jake Ellzey, will now go head to head in a runoff.

But what really makes this a gut punch for Democrats is that both of the above names are Republicans. It was a complete lockout in a district that Democrats had not only hoped to compete in, but also flip blue. Nancy Pelosi can’t be pleased.

Elections Daily


With 100% of precincts in #TX06 according to 


Wright (R) - 19.2%

Ellzey (R) - 13.9%

Sanchez (D) - 13.4%

Harrison (R) - 10.8%

Lassiter (D) - 8.9%

There are several things to note here. This was only a Trump +3 district in 2020, and it’s exactly the kind of suburban district that Democrats have been very bullish on making further gains in. Despite that, the Republicans not only took back ground but took back the entire battlefield, perhaps signaling a return to normal voting patterns in some of these places that were previously trending blue.

The Illinoisan 


The scope of the GOP overperformance in TX-6 tonight is roughly what Mark Moores would need to flip NM-1. The base energy right now is incredible.

Unlike in the past, the media are going to downplay this. When it’s a Democrat winning a toss-up race in a special election, that’s spread far and wide as proof of a coming blue wave. When it’s a Republican, it’s just too soon to tell. We all know how it goes, but this win does matter, regardless of how it’s spun. The GOP needed to show it could make inroads into the suburban districts that left the party from 2018-2020. This was a good data point.

Another reason why wins like this matter is that it helps the GOP gauge where they'll need to allocate their money in Election 2022, and that knowledge may help free up funds to compete in closer districts. Gut punch.


  1. And the never trumper with lots of free publicity from cnn and msnbc got 3%.

  2. What do we know about Elzey or Wright? Are they Liz Cheney and Kevin McCarthy pals?

  3. Trump's endorsements still require explanations for me. Not that I expect to get any, but why Wright? Why Rubio? Why McCarthy?

    I can't help but think, by principal? Or by party deals? Selling a brand? Either way, it doesn't seem like the same guy I voted for in 2016. Or maybe it is and explains the cabinet picks.

    Sorry, I just have questions that will not depart my brain.

    1. Dm

      Me too. Best i can figure, for whatever reasons, Trump has decided that the best path forward is to work within the GOP and change it rather than go 3d party. (Isn't this, afterall, what he concluded after Perot's candidacy when Trump decided to run for the GOP nomination? ). Having made that decision, he now approaches each move in his experience with business deals and taking over rival companies i conclude that his endorsements are carefully weighed between who can be alienated, i.e., voting base vs party bosses.

      This doesn't taste good to me and i feel Trump's political leverage is at risk as voters see daily outrages from Biden while the GOP does little ir nothing. It goves Trump's endorsements of this party the taint of guilt by association.