Candidates Up Against the Last Day to File for 2018 Primary

For the first time in more than three decades, District 6 will have a new representative in Congress

Monday was the deadline for candidates to file for next year's election, and 12 candidates are vying to fill the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Joe Barton.

It will be the first time since 1985 that someone other than Barton, a Republican from Ennis, will represent Texas' Sixth Congressional District.

Seven of the candidates are Republicans, and they had to decide quickly to enter the race, because Barton had originally announced plans to run again. But he reversed course after a nude photo surfaced online that he sent to a woman while separated from his wife, and another woman said she had received messages from Barton that were inappropriate.

This week, Democrats try to gain ground as the 2018 primaries near. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez sits down to discuss her campaign for Governor. Longtime investigative reporter talks about his turn to politics, and how he plans to win House District 32. We discuss three Congressmen’s resignations in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.

Tarrant County GOP Chairman Tim O'Hare has not endorsed anyone in the Sixth District race, but he tells NBC 5 he believes former Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Ron Wright is the frontrunner. Wright, who resigned his county job to run for Congress, was also an Arlington City councilman and worked for Barton for 11 years, including time spent as Barton's chief of staff.

Wright tells NBC 5 he is not concerned he will be tied to Barton in the race.

"For one thing, Joe Barton had a very distinguished career in Congress up until the latest embarrassment, but I have a public service record going back to the 1980s," Wright said.

Other Republicans who have filed in the race include Deborah Gagliardi, J.K "Jake" Ellzey, Mark Mitchell, Mel Hassell, Shawn Dandridge and Troy Ratterree.

Still, there is optimism at Tarrant County Democratic Party headquarters with the open seat in a traditionally conservative district. Five Democrats are in the race: Jana Lynne Sanchez, John W. Duncan, Justin Snider, Levii R. Shocklee and Ruby Faye Woolridge.

"These aren't red counties, these are non-voting counties. We have an opportunity if Democrats get up off their duffs, and go and vote to win this," said Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairwoman Deborah Peoples.

Peoples thinks the Democratic have an advantage, because their candidates have had a head start on fundraising since Barton left the race so late.

"I think the enthusiasm is out there. You have got people who are walking and working, so I think that Democrats have a good shot," she said.

Four Republicans are running to replace Wright as Tarrant County tax assessor-collector: former NBC 5 anchorman Mike Snyder, former Keller councilman Rick Barnes, former Mansfield councilwoman Wendy Burgess and Hurst Councilwoman Trasa Robertson Cobern.

Elsewhere in North Texas, former Dallas television reporter Brett Shipp announced last week he was joining the race for House District 32, while Lupe Valdez (D) resigned her position as Dallas County Sheriff to challenge incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

Former Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins said he may run for his old office, but announced Sunday that he was going to remain in the private sector.

The Texas primaries will be held March 6, 2018; runoffs, if necessary, would be May 22. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 6, 2018. See other key 2018 elections dates here.

MORE: To see a complete list of candidates in the March 2018 primary elections for any Texas county, visit the Secretary of State's website.

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