The special election to replace Rep. Ron Wright, the Texas Republican who died in February after being hospitalized with Covid-19, had the potential to be the first competitive special election of the Biden era. Wright represented a suburban Fort Worth seat that President Donald Trump carried by just 3 points in 2020 (after carrying it by 12 points in 2016).
Instead, the seat is guaranteed to remain in GOP hands, after no Democratic candidate finished in the top two in Saturday’s jungle primary. It’s no surprise that we’re changing our rating to Solid Republican.
The Democratic Party’s best performer, Jana Lynne Sanchez, placed third with 13.4 percent of the vote. That was just 354 votes short of second-place finisher state Rep. Jake Ellzey, who will now advance to a runoff with fellow Republican Susan Wright (Rep. Wright’s widow), who led the 23-person field with 19.2 percent.
With the benefit of a few days’ hindsight, here are six things I think after the Texas 6 special primary.
1. The Trump-era special election boomlet is over. In 2017 and 2018, special elections were the talk of the political town. The race for Georgia’s 6th District, a traditionally Republican seat that Trump carried by just a point, attracted tens of millions of dollars in donor money and countless hours of news coverage. It also jump-started the career of an unknown Democrat named Jon Ossoff, now the youngest member of the U.S. Senate. But it wasn’t just Georgia. Specials in Pennsylvania, Montana, even Kansas and South Carolina were treated as major political events.
By contrast, the Texas 6th race was a sleepy affair from a national perspective. The field of 23 candidates raised less than $3 million combined by April 11 —...