July 28, 2021 9:40:39 am
Former President Donald Trump’s preferred candidate was trailing in early results from a special runoff election in a US House seat in Texas on Tuesday, behind a fellow Republican who raised far more campaign cash.
Susan Wright, a 58-year-old Republican activist whom Trump endorsed in April, is bidding to finish her late husband Representative Ron Wright’s term in the House.
Wright was lagging behind Texas state legislator Jake Ellzey in the early returns in Texas’ 6th congressional district, a longtime Republican-held district outside Dallas. Ellzey was ahead 52.8% to 47.2% for Wright, with 49.8% of precincts reporting so far in the runoff election, the Washington Post said.
The two Republicans emerged from 23 candidates in the first round of voting May 1, with Democrats shut out of the contest.
Wright was expected to do well because Trump weighed in for her in a special election, normally a low-turnout affair.
Trump endorsed Wright in April. His political action committee made a last-minute $100,000 television ad buy for her over the weekend, campaign finance records show, and he made a personal pitch for her during a telephone rally Monday night.
The runoff election will reduce Democrats’ narrow 220-211 majority in the US House by one seat as Congress prepares to try to pass Democratic President Joe Biden’s sweeping $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
Ron Wright died of Covid-19 on Feb. 7.In addition to being a Texas state senator, Ellzey is a former Navy fighter pilot who flew combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. He far exceeded Wright in fundraising, taking in $1.7 million through July 7, $1 million more than Wright, according to Federal Election Commission data.
Trump won the district by three percentage points in the 2020 presidential election, a nine-point slide from four years earlier.
The Trump-allied fund-raising arm of the conservative Club for Growth based in Washington, DC, says it has spent over $1 million in television ads and mailers for Wright. They proclaim Trump’s endorsement of Wright and sharply attack Ellzey, charging that Democrats are trying to get him elected.
Ahead of the voting, Democrats said they were not keen about turning out to vote for either Republican. Jana Lynne Sanchez, the Democrat who was edged out of the runoff by 354 votes in May, when there were 23 candidates on the ballot, said of the candidates: “They are both very far right.”