Republican state Rep. Jake Ellzey delivered an upset win over Trump-backed Republican Susan Wright in a runoff of the special election in Texas’ 6th Congressional District, Politico reports.
Wright, the widow of late Rep. Ron Wright, who passed away in February after being diagnosed with Covid, received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement ahead of the first round of voting in May despite facing a crowded field of Republicans. Trump held two virtual town halls for Wright and recorded a robo-call but it was not enough to defeat the better-funded Ellzey.
Ellzey won the low-turnout race 53-47 on Tuesday in a blow to the former president’s clout inside the GOP.
Democrats failed to make the runoff despite the electorate increasingly trending toward the middle, with Trump winning the Dallas-Fort Worth area district by just three points in 2020 after carrying it by 12 in 2016.
It’s possible that Ellzey may have benefited from votes from anti-Trump Democrats in the race.
Ellzey downplays division:
Ellzey pushed back on the media narrative about Trump’s clout, arguing that he is not an anti-Trump Republican and criticizing the media’s framing.
"It's essential that we get this right," Ellzey said after being projected as the winner. "It's essential that we do it as Americans united, instead of Americans divided; Republicans united instead of Republicans divided, so once we take back the House and Senate in '22 and take back the White House in 2024, we take back our country."
But the race marks a setback for Trump since it was his first post-presidential endorsement.
Another intraparty battle in Ohio:
Trump’s influence will be tested again next week in Ohio, where a large field of Republicans are running in a primary to replace former Rep. Steve Stivers, who was tapped to lead the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
Stivers has backed state Rep. Jeff LaRe, a former deputy sheriff who is running on a platform focused on law enforcement and immigration.
But Trump has thrown his support behind energy lobbyist Mike Carey, who worked for one of the largest coal companies in the world.
Trump’s Save America PAC touted Carey as “a courageous fighter for the people and our economy, is strong on the Border, and tough on Crime.”