ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A very crowded field of candidates has emerged in the race for an open congressional seat in North Texas.

A total of 23 candidates are running to complete the term of Republican congressman Ron Wright, who died in February weeks after testing positive for COVID-19 and after he had battled lung cancer.

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The term ends at the end of December 2022.

Wright served in the 6th Congressional District which includes parts of Tarrant County along with all of Ellis and Navarro counties.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats will be on the ballot along with one Independent and one Libertarian.

SMU political science professor Matthew Wilson said Wednesday he’s not surprised there are so many vying for the seat. “It’s not very often that you get an open seat opportunity to run for Congress, and especially in a district that is at least reasonably two party competitive. So many of the districts around Texas are either overwhelmingly Democratic, or overwhelmingly Republican.”

Among those running, Wright’s widow, Susan of Arlington, who’s been a political staffer for state lawmakers.

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Wilson said it’s relatively common for someone to seek the congressional seat their spouse held. “That person starts with some built in connections within the party, that the spouse built up also is often the case that there’s a reservoir of goodwill, that you know, people feel sorry for the person, people feel sympathy for the person, because they’ve just lost their spouse.”

Wright’s campaign has said she’s received the endorsement of more than 175 people including many Tarrant County GOP leaders.

Another candidate is Republican State Rep. Jake Ellzey of Ellis County, who lost to Wright in the Republican primary in 2018.

Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez, who ran unsuccessfully against Wright in the general election that same year, is also on the ballot this time.

Wilson said he believes Susan Wright is the favorite to ultimately win, but he doesn’t believe she will earn the required 50% plus one vote to win the race out-right. “I would certainly expect her to be the leading vote getter on May 1. I’d be surprised if she got to 50% on that day, though.”

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The complete list of candidates is below:

  • MICHAEL BALLANTINE – REPUBLICAN
  • LYDIA BEAN – DEMOCRATIC
  • JOHN ANTHONY CASTRO – REPUBLICAN
  • DARYL J. EDDINGS SR – DEMOCRATIC
  • MIKE EGAN – REPUBLICAN
  • JAKE ELLZEY – REPUBLICAN
  • PHIL GRAY – LIBERTERIAN
  • BRIAN HARRISON – REPUBLICAN
  • MATT HINTERLONG – DEMOCRATIC
  • TAMMY ALLISON – DEMOCRATIC
  • SERY KIM – REPUBLICAN
  • SHAWN LASSITER – DEMOCRATIC
  • ADRIAN MIZHER – INDEPENDENT
  • PATRICK MOSES – DEMOCRATIC
  • TRAVIS RODERMUND – REPUBLICAN
  • DAN RODIMER – REPUBLICAN
  • MANUEL RICHARD SALAZAR III – DEMOCRATIC
  • JANA LYNNE SANCHEZ – DEMOCRATIC
  • JENNY GARCIA SHARON – REPUBLICAN
  • BRIAN K. STEPHENSON – DEMOCRATIC
  • CHRIS SUPRUN – DEMOCRATIC
  • MICHAEL WOOD – REPUBLICAN
  • SUSAN WRIGHT – REPUBLICAN