Elections

Replacing Joe Barton in Congress: Will this Texas district stay red or turn blue?

Ron WRight
Ron WRight Courtesy

For the first time in three decades, voters in the 6th Congressional District will not see Republican Joe Barton’s name on the ballot.

Instead, they’ll choose between Republican Ron Wright, Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez and Libertarian Jason Allen Harber — and decide whether this district stays red or turns blue.

“Open seats offer the best bet for a party who hasn’t held the seat to pick it up,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “Sanchez has done everything she can to pluck this seat from the Republicans but much of the district is in rural Texas where Democrats have had little success.

“Wright is a known quantity in Fort Worth and national and statewide figures like Trump and Abbott remain popular there.”

At stake is a two-year term that pays $174,000 a year. The district includes parts of east and southwest Fort Worth, most of Arlington and Mansfield and all of Ellis and Navarro counties.

Early voting for the Nov. 6 mid-term election runs from Oct. 22-Nov. 2.

Barton, of Ennis, came under fire last year for a nude photo shared online and private messages with sexual overtones with a female constituent. He announced late last year that he would not seek another term in office.

Barton has represented this district since 1985.

Here’s a look at what Wright and Sanchez had to say about this race. Harber did not respond to a Star-Telegram request for comment.

Republican Ron Wright

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 Tarrant County’s tax assessor collector.

“The most important issue in this race is sending someone to Washington from CD 6 who will best represent the people of the district and the conservative values they prioritize,” he said. “People in this district want the border secured, now, and they want the government to live within its means.”

Wright said he’s the right person for the job because he has the “willingness to say no to the Washington establishment.”

“This job will not be a career move for me, but a chance to take the small government, conservative values I hold up to D.C. and stick to them on behalf of the voters,” he said. “Texans are tired of seeing Congress shed their campaign promises. I won’t give in to the ‘swamp.’”

If elected, Wright said his top priorities include “the preservation of life, liberty and prosperity, and further reform of our tax code and the way Washington spends our tax dollars.”

“We must secure the border and reform our broken immigration system,” he added.

Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez

Sanchez, a public relations specialist and former journalist, moved back to Waxahachie to care for aging parents. Her family has lived in the area for years.

Sanchez said she’s the best candidate because she understands the American Dream, having, as the granddaughter of migrant farm workers, grown up living it.

“I am the only candidate in the race who represents the whole district — in that my views are much more in line with them — and advocates for all the constituents,” she said. “I am focusing on the issues of most importance to voters including better jobs for our community college and high school graduates, well-funded neighborhood schools not depleted by vouchers and affordable healthcare for all.”

She has been endorsed by Emily’s List and learned this week that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added this race to its Red to Blue program, which means her race will get more support from the DCCC and likely donors.

”As (a) Texan and businesswoman, Jana Lynne Sanchez is deeply rooted in her community and always rises to a challenge,” Ben Ray Lujan, chairman of the DCCC, said in a written statement. “This perseverance has allowed Jana put together a strong people-powered campaign that will give accountable representation to the people of Texas’ 6th Congressional District.”

She said she’s running for this seat “to make sure that all residents of District 6 have the opportunity to achieve their own American Dream. I want to ensure that every family has affordable healthcare, well-funded neighborhood schools and good jobs.”

She said she’s also focused on comprehensive immigration reform and taking care of seniors by making sure Medicare and Social Security remain strong.

“I want voters to know that I will work as hard for them in Congress as I have done to win their votes over the past two years.”

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

Shelley Kofler and Bud Kennedy from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram report from the campaign watch party of Congressional District 6 candidate Ron Wright, who is seeking the Republican nomination.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Shelley Kofler reports from the campaign watch party of Jana Lynne Sanchez, the Democrat who is ahead in early voting for Congressional District 6.

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