Hispanic Caucus joins race to flip GOP district in Texas special election

by | Apr 7, 2021 | Politics, Texas Elections

BOLD PAC, the campaign arm of the 38-member Congressional Hispanic Caucus, announced Wednesday their endorsement of Jana Lynne Sanchez, a Democratic candidate running to replace the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright in Texas’ 6th congressional district.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus backed Sanchez when she first campaigned in the North Texas district in 2018 and came within eight percentage points of defeating Wright.

In 2020, Wright defeated his Democratic opponent Stephen Daniels by nine points and President Trump carried the district by three points.

Wright passed away from COVID-19 in February and the special election to fill the seat has drawn a crowded primary of 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats, as well as plenty of national attention (in part, due to an incident of xenophobia by one GOP candidate and a goofy political ad by another). 

A former journalist and public relations consultant, Sanchez said she’s running in TX-06 to create a healthier and more equitable future for residents of her district, where she grew up and where her grandparents settled as migrant farmworkers. 

“I’m running because I believe our democracy is at grave risk and because I want to be part of the solution for the real problems that people are facing in our district,” Sanchez said.

Sanches said her experience, name recognition, and familiarity with the district will help her come out on top in the primary. 

Other Democratic contenders include Lydia Bean, a sociologist and former professor at Baylor University who has earned the endorsement of Texas AFL–CIO; and Shawn Lassiter, a nonprofit leader and science teacher who recently received an endorsement from 314 Action, a nonprofit PAC dedicated to electing scientists. 

At least two polls so far show Sanchez leading the crop of Democratic candidates. Susan Wright, the widow of Congressman Wright running with the support of several Texas Republican members of Congress, currently leads the field in those polls.

No candidate seems likely to garner more than 50 percent of the vote on election day, May 1, and the race appears heading towards a runoff between the eventual top two candidates. 

The endorsement by Hispanic Caucus’ BOLD PAC is the second major national Democratic PAC to get involved in the race. Nuestro PAC, the political action committee founded by former Bernie Sanders advisor and native Texan Chuck Rocha, recently purchased $24,000 worth of ads in support of Sanchez.

In 2020, BOLD PAC spent $6 million in independent expenditures in support of Latino candidates across the U.S., including more than $300,000 in the Dallas area race for Texas’s 24th congressional district that saw freshman Republican Rep. Beth Van Dyune defeat BOLD-endorsed former school board member Candace Valenzuela by one percentage point — the closet congressional race in Texas in 2020.

BOLD PAC Chairman Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) told the Signal he knows the race for Texas’ congressional 6th district will be difficult, especially in an off-year election, but he is confident in Sanchez.

“Sanchez has been the one candidate in that district that has made that district competitive, and she’s believed in that district before almost anybody else did,” Gallego said. 

“Texas is where Arizona was a few years ago,” Gallego said of BOLD’s continued investment in the Lone Star State. “It’s on the precipice of starting to turn Democratic and its races like this that start making the difference.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

fernando@texassignal.com | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at fernando@texassignal.com

Are you tired of Texas Republicans pushing big lies and trying to steal your vote? So are we, that’s why we’re fighting back against the right-wing lie machine. Our commitment to ethical, fact-based journalism is vital to our democracy, and we can’t do it without you. Consider donating today to help us stay in this fight.

Continue Reading

Lina Hidalgo Announces Mental Health Leave

Lina Hidalgo Announces Mental Health Leave

This afternoon Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced she has been taking a leave of absence from her position to seek treatment for depression. The Houston Chronicle broke the news about Hidalgo, who has been at an inpatient facility since July. Throughout her...