Voters in a handful of North Texas counties need to pay extra attention when casting ballots in the May 27 Republican runoff elections. If they don't, they might end up voting for the wrong Hall.
A significant chunk of Congressional District 4 overlaps with state Senate District 2. The overlap is found in Rockwall, Hunt, Fannin, Delta, Hopkins and Rains counties and, according to Texas Legislative Council figures, captures 249,687 Texans, or 143,426 registered voters.
Now to why this is significant. Seventeen-term incumbent Congressman Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, is in the toughest re-election fight of his career after finding himself in a runoff, for the first time, against former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe. His opponent initially garnered attention by demonstrating the ability to self-fund his campaign and later by garnering a couple of high-profile endorsements from the conservative groups Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund.
Hall has fought back on both the fundraising front, where his fellow lawmakers have organized a handful of high-dollar fundraisers, and on the endorsement front, where he has obtained support from WallBuilders founder David Barton and the Family Research Council Action PAC.
But there's one thing he has no control over. He won't be the only Hall on the ballot in that area of overlap with SD-2. That's because the runoff contest there features incumbent Bob Deuell and a challenger named Bob Hall. That area of overlap is not insignificant either. Nearly 36 percent of CD-4 is in SD-2. Conversely, nearly 31 percent of SD-2 is in CD-4.
Furthermore, turnout in runoff elections is usually significantly lower than primary contests, meaning wild-card factors such as shared names on the ballot might have an outsize effect on the final result. We're not predicting that'll be the case here, but it's a potential X-factor worth keeping in mind as May 27 approaches.