Gov. Greg Abbott sets May 1 special election to fill seat of late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright

Gov. Greg Abbott sets May 1 special election to fill seat of late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright
Gov. Greg Abbott sets May 1 special election to fill seat of late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright

People vote at Audelia Road Branch Library on the first day of early voting in Dallas on Oct. 13, 2020.

Early voting in the special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, R-Arlington, will begin April 19.

Credit: Montinique Monroe for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott has selected May 1 as the date for the special election to succeed late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, R-Arlington.

Wright died earlier this month after a yearslong struggle with cancer and testing positive for COVID-19 in January.

The candidate filing deadline for the special election is March 3, and early voting starts April 19.

The special election for the Republican-leaning seat is set to draw a large crowd, and several candidates have already announced or filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.

On the Republican side, Wright’s wife, Susan Wright, is expected to launch a campaign as soon as this week. She could be joined by a slew of potential GOP contenders including state Rep. Jake Ellzey, R-Waxahachie; Katrina Pierson, the former Trump campaign spokesperson; and Brian Harrison, who was chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Trump.

Two Democrats have declared their candidacies: Jana Lynne Sanchez, the 2018 Democratic nominee for the seat, and Lydia Bean, last year’s Democratic nominee for state House District 93.

The district sprawls from the Dallas-Fort Worth area southeast to the more rural counties of Ellis and Navarro.

The district has been trending blue and former President Donald Trump carried it by only 3 percentage points last year, though it remains to be seen how serious of a play national Democrats will make in the special election. Ron Wright won by more comfortable margins when he was first elected in 2018 and then reelected in 2020, when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee targeted the seat.

Gov. Greg Abbott sets May 1 special election to fill seat of late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright
Source: Texas Tribune