Texas Republicans Battle to Fill U.S. House Seat

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Jake Ellzey is facing disconnected against Susan Wright, the widow of Ron Wright, who represented the state’s Sixth Congressional District earlier helium died successful February from Covid-19.

Susan Wright greeted voters past  week extracurricular  an aboriginal  voting tract  successful  Arlington, Texas.
Credit...Elias Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News, via Associated Press

July 27, 2021, 9:40 p.m. ET

AUSTIN, Texas — The Republican widow of a Texas congressman who died aboriginal this twelvemonth of Covid-19 faced an assertive situation connected Tuesday successful a peculiar runoff predetermination to capable her husband’s vacant House seat.

Susan Wright, whose husband, Ron Wright, died successful February astir 2 weeks aft investigating affirmative for the coronavirus, was assisted successful May by a last-minute endorsement from erstwhile President Donald J. Trump. In a 23-way contention to correspond the state’s Sixth Congressional District, she captured astir 19 percent of the ballot — acold beneath the 50 percent bulk needed to debar a runoff.

On Tuesday, she faced Jake Ellzey, besides a Republican and a freshman authorities typical who narrowly missed capturing the Republican information for the spot successful 2018. Mr. Ellzey was up with 53.4 percent of the vote astir 90 minutes aft the polls closed, but nary victor had been declared.

In the end, the election, which was expected to gully acold less voters than the superior contention successful May, was little astir 2 ideologically akin candidates and much astir however overmuch sway Mr. Trump would person successful getting radical to formed ballots for Ms. Wright. In a duel of erstwhile Republican leaders, Rick Perry, the state’s erstwhile politician and a erstwhile furniture subordinate of Mr. Trump’s administration, threw his value down Mr. Ellzey, who similar Mr. Perry is simply a erstwhile subject pilot.

The contention betwixt Ms. Wright and Mr. Ellzey, who overtook a Democratic campaigner by 347 votes to unafraid a slot successful the runoff, disappointed Democrats, who had hoped to to pat a reservoir of shifting demographics and Hispanic and African American maturation successful a territory wherever Mr. Trump won by lone 3 percent points successful November. The Sixth District represents 3 counties conscionable southbound of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan region.

Ms. Wright, 58, is simply a longtime Republican activistic who pledged to proceed her husband’s bequest connected a big of blimpish priorities, including abortion, guns and immigration.


Credit...Robert W. Hart/The Dallas Morning News, via Associated Press

Mr. Ellzey, 51, a Navy veteran, is successful the mediate of his archetypal word successful the Texas House of Representatives.

Both candidates enactment the Republican-backed elector overhaul authorities successful Texas, a measurement that prompted Democrats to permission the authorities to artifact a ballot conscionable days into a peculiar session.

The victor volition articulation the second-largest legislature delegation — 23 Republicans and 13 Democrats — successful the U.S. House down California. The Sixth District faces inevitable changes erstwhile authorities lawmakers gully caller legislature lines.

The alleged Trump Factor was the biggest subplot successful Tuesday’s contest, with Ms. Wright and her supporters hoping the endorsement would propel her to victory. The erstwhile president retains an immense clasp connected Texas Republicans, and helium carried the territory by 12 points successful 2016 earlier losing crushed successful the portion to President Biden past year.

Ms. Wright, who entered the contention 2 weeks aft her husband’s death, has prominently displayed the erstwhile president’s endorsement passim her run and introduced Mr. Trump astatine a virtual election-eve rally connected Monday night.

The Club for Growth, a blimpish fiscal enactment that supported Mr. Trump successful 2020, has besides aligned with Ms. Wright, spending $1.2 cardinal to money ads and mailings attacking Mr. Ellzey’s legislative grounds and his blimpish credentials, prompting fierce rebuttals.

Although the 2 candidates stock akin views connected astir of the basal issues, the Club for Growth attacks injected a harsh tenor into the race, becoming an contented themselves. Mr. Perry, the erstwhile governor, described them arsenic “junk” and “absolute trash” and demanded that Ms. Wright disavow the claims, which she refused to do.

Joe Barton, who represented the territory successful Congress for much than 3 decades, said the code of the Club for Growth ads was a origin successful his determination to endorse Mr. Ellzey, though helium was friends with the Wrights.

Heading into Tuesday’s race, Mr. Ellzey had raised $1.7 million, acold much than the $740,000 raised by Ms. Wright, according to quality media reports.

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