Elections 2020FederalPete Sessions Wins Heated Republican Runoff for Open Congressional Seat in Central Texas

In the contentious Republican runoff in Central Texas, Pete Sessions claimed the nomination with 54 percent of the vote against Renee Swann.
July 15, 2020
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In the race to replace retiring Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX-17), Pete Sessions will go on to represent Republicans in the general election.

Sessions previously represented the 32nd Congressional District in the Dallas area until losing the seat to Colin Allred (D-TX-32) in 2018.

His entrance into the primary race was opposed by Flores, who said, “Pete is a friend of mine, but I wish he’d called me first.”

“The conservative leaders and community leaders in the district who are aware of Pete’s intentions have told me they would prefer someone who currently lives, works, and serves in our communities,” said Flores.

But W. Kirk Bell, Sessions’ campaign manager, told The Texan that several GOP county chairs in the district asked Sessions to run for the seat because they were concerned that Chet Edwards, the former Democratic representative for TX-17, might seek the seat again.

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According to Bell, those county chairs believed that Sessions had a greater chance of holding onto the seat for Republicans than someone without congressional experience.

During the primary race, Flores gave his support to Renee Swann, who has spent her career running an eye surgery clinic in Waco with her husband.

In March, Swann finished with 19 percent of the vote, trailing behind Sessions’ 32 percent.

That gap dwindled a little in Tuesday’s runoff, but Sessions still led by a notable margin.

As of Wednesday morning, the secretary of state reported Sessions at 54 percent and Swann at 46 percent.

“I offer my congratulations to Pete Sessions and ask everyone who cares about preserving what is great and amazing in our country to support him in the general election,” said Swann in a statement Tuesday evening.

“Pete Sessions is honored to be the Republican nominee for CD-17 and he will work every day to win this race in November and represent this district with effectiveness and conservative values in Congress,” said a Sessions spokesman, Matt Mackowiak.

The Democratic Party also held a runoff in TX-17, with Rick Kennedy winning with 57 percent of the vote against David Anthony Jaramillo.

Most political analysts rate the district as safely Republican.

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.