AUSTIN, TX, September 1, 2020 – Buoyed by significant slippage for President Donald
Trump at the top of the ballot, Democratic challenger Rick Kennedy is within striking
distance of Republican candidate Pete Sessions in the race for the Congressional
District 17 seat. Sessions holds a narrow 45-42 lead over Kennedy, with 13 percent of
voters still undecided in a survey of 1,160 likely voters conducted by Lincoln Park
Strategies last week.
President Trump, who received 56 percent of the vote in CD 17 in 2016, is clinging to a
48-47 lead over Democratic challenger Joe Biden. The district runs from Waco to Bryan
– College Station and includes parts of northern Travis County including Pflugerville.
Lincoln Park pointed to a couple unique factors that have made this race so close in a
Congressional District long dominated by Republicans.
“Rick Kennedy is clearly being helped by two factors,” said Lincoln Park President
Stefan Hankin. “First, Pete Sessions brings a lot of negative baggage with him from his
former north Texas district. Just as important, Joe Biden is running neck and neck with
The survey showed that while Sessions is known by 69 percent of the voters in the
district, 57 percent have a negative opinion of him. Sessions lost his Dallas area seat in
2018 and moved to Waco specifically to run in CD 17. He has been implicated for his
role in the Ukraine scandal and has subsequently used campaign funds to pay his legal
Kennedy said the survey proves that the Democrats are poised to win a historic election
in CD 17.
“The numbers bear out what I’ve been hearing in the three years I’ve been running for
this seat,” Kennedy said. “We are going to win this election because the voters want a
Congress that works for the people and isn’t bogged down in partisan warfare.
“Pete Sessions was a part of the problem – which is why the voters in his Dallas district
sent him packing. Now he’s shopping for a new Congressional District and he’s not
going to find it here in Central Texas.”
The CD 17 poll is consistent with other statewide polls showing President Trump in an
increasingly tight race in Texas. 37 percent of the respondents were Republican, 29
percent Democrat and 34 percent identified themselves as Independents.
“Given the state of the Presidential race, and the negative views surrounding Sessions,
it is not surprising that Rick Kennedy is in a very strong position to win this election,”
Rick Kennedy is a software engineer who lives in Wells Branch. As the Democratic candidate, he
opposes Pete Sessions for the US House TX17 seat that opened up when Bill Flores announced
his retirement. The general election is November 3, 2020. The 17th includes Brazos, Burleson,
Falls, Freestone, Limestone, McLennan, Milam, and Robertson counties; also portions of
Bastrop, Lee, Leon, and Travis counties.