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Fallon Wins GOP Nomination For Ratcliffe's Former Seat In Congress

Pat Fallon has represented Texas Senate District 30, which includes eastern Collin County.
Juan Figueroa
The Texas Tribune
Pat Fallon

There’s a good chance that state Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Propser) will be the next Congressman to represent Northeast Texas.

On Saturday in Sulphur Springs, Republican Party county and precinct chairs from the Texas 4th Congressional District convened to elect a candidate to face Democratic nominee Russell Foster in the Nov. 3 general election. The party neede a nominee because former Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe left the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year to become the new Director of National Intelligence.

“We and us, now from this day forward, in the 4th Congressional District, are united to beat the socialists because everything that our ancestors built is under threat,” Fallon said following his victory. In a strongly Republican district that re-elected Ratcliffe with more than three-quarters of the vote in 2018, Fallon’s status as the GOP nominee makes him the favorite to win in November.

Fallon won 82 of the 144 votes cast in the special election. At least 18 candidates had announced a bid for the nomination, and 12 of those were nominated from the floor at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center, which hosted the event. Former Ratcliffe Chief of Staff Jason Ross, an early favorite to replace his former boss, came in a distant second with 34 votes. Atlanta mayor Travis Ransom placed third with 16 votes, while no other candidate broke the double-digit mark.

Fallon’s conservative ideological credentials – evidenced by an in-person show of support by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who stumped for Fallon in Sulphur Springs earlier Saturday morning – seemed to outweigh any concerns based on Fallon not actually living in the district. Prosper sits in the Texas 3rd Congressional District, which is represented by Van Taylor (R-Plano).

Most of Fallon’s current state Senate District 30 is to the west of the 4th Congressional District, although there is some overlap, as both eastern Collin County and the Sherman-Denison area are in both districts.

Other Republican hopefuls for the nomination included Rockwall city council member Trace Johannesen and another out-of-district candidate, Aaron Harris, who leads the activist group Direct Action Texas.

Tragedy cast a shadow over the race in July, when state appeals court Justice David Bridges of Rockwall, another candidate, died in a motor vehicle accident on Interstate 30 in Royse City. Bridges’ vehicle was struck by a car going the wrong way, driven by a Royse City woman who was arrested at the scene and now faces a charge of intoxication manslaughter.

Bridges’ family wrote a letter to the Republican Party county and precinct chairs who convened on Saturday, and it was read to those present shortly before Saturday’s vote.

“Thank you for helping my father chase his dreams,” the letter concluded.

Whoever wins in November's general election will be just the fifth Congressman to represent the district over the last century. The Texas 4th Congressional District was represented by Sam Rayburn from 1913 to 1961, followed by Ray Roberts (1962-1981), Ralph Hall (1982-2014), and Ratcliffe (2015-2020).

Mark Haslett has served at KETR since 2013. Since then, the station's news operation has enjoyed an increase in listener engagement and audience metrics, as well recognition in the Texas AP Broadcasters awards.
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