Facebook Live: Star-Telegram reports from Ron Wright’s CD6 campaign watch party
The final matchup is set.
Republican Ron Wright and Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez will face off in November, each vying to replace U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, in Congress.
They both claimed victory late Tuesday in their respective primary runoff battles to represent the 6th Congressional District.
Wright held a 52 percent lead over fellow Republican J.K. "Jake" Ellzey and Sanchez claimed a 53 percent lead over fellow Democrat Ruby Faye Woolridge, with all the precincts reported to the Texas Secretary of State's Office.
The battle for this congressional district seat swelled to a field of 16 candidates once Barton announced last year that, after more than three decades in office, he no longer would seek re-election.
"It was an open seat and that always attracts candidates," said Allan Saxe, an associate political science professor at UTA. "CD 6 will be important since much of it incorporates a huge and growing metropolitan area."
At stake is a two-year term that pays $174,000 a year representing a district that includes part of east and southwest Fort Worth, most of Arlington and Mansfield and all of Ellis and Navarro counties.
Wright and Sanchez now face off Nov. 6 in the general election.
Barton, who came under fire last year for a nude photo shared online and private messages with sexual overtones with a female constituent, announced in November that he would not seek another term in office.
Here's a look at the votes late Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the Texas Secretary of State.
Wright, Tarrant County's Tax Assessor Collector, held on to nearly 52 percent of the vote in the GOP race, with all 757 precincts reporting.
"It feels great," he said from his election party in Arlington.
A longtime Tarrant County resident, Wright has served on the Arlington City Council as Barton’s chief of staff and district director and, since 2011, as tax assessor collector.
Now that the primary runoff is over, he said he plans to get a little rest — and definitely a good night's sleep — and then get back to campaigning.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Wright said. "The lines are going to be much more sharply drawn in the general election than they were in the primary."
The National Republican Congressional Committee sent out a statement late Tuesday congratulating Wright on his victory.
“Ron Wright fought for taxpayers as Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector, and we know he will fight for taxpayers as the Sixth District’s next Member of Congress," NRCC spokesman Jack Pandol said. "The NRCC is proud to stand with Ron to ensure this seat stays solidly Republican in the fall.”
Ellzey, a retired Navy pilot, trailed with 47.8 percent of the vote.
Ellzey, a commercial airline pilot and member of the Texas Veterans Commission, promised to serve only five terms, or 10 years, in office if he was elected.
Woolridge and Sanchez were neck and neck in the primary election, with Woolridge ultimately claiming 15 more votes than Sanchez in a field of five candidates.
It wasn't that close Tuesday night.
Sanchez, a public relations specialist, won with 53.1 percent of the vote once all 757 precincts reported their tallies.
Late Tuesday, she said she was happy to see the votes supporting her bid for office.
"I feel really excited and optimistic about this evening and about how the vote is going to go in the end," she said. "I'm looking forward to working even harder in the next six months."
Sanchez, whose family lived in the area for years, is a former journalist who moved back to Waxahachie to care for aging parents.
She said she knows her biggest challenge now will be raising enough money for the general election "and knocking on enough doors."
Sanchez said now, though, she's going to take a quick break and head to Mexico for a Spanish-immersion class for about a week.
After that, she said she's ready to get back to work.
"People in District 6 are ready for a change," Sanchez said. "They are unhappy with the Republican Congress and are not looking for more of the same."
The Democratic National Committee sent out a statement congratulating all Democratic primary winners, especially sending out "congratulations to all the new Democratic nominees across the South."
"With just 24 weeks to go until Election Day, it's clear that enthusiasm for Democrats continues to surge," according to the statement from DNC Chair Tom Perez. "In Texas, we saw a record number of Democratic candidates run for office this year and (Tuesday's) results made it clear that Texans want more women to represent them."
Woolridge, education counselor who ran against Barton two years ago, trailed with 46.8 percent of the vote.
Woolridge, of Arlington, is a longtime community activist.