AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Republican Jake Ellzey of Texas won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday night over a rival backed by Donald Trump, defeating the former president in a test of his backup power since leaving office.
Ellzey’s victory over Republican Susan Wright, widow of the late Rep. Ron Wright, in a special congressional runoff near Dallas is likely to be celebrated by Trump antagonists who have warned against your continued grip in the Republican Party. Trump had backed Wright from the start and had made one last attempt to give him a boost with a phone rally Monday night.
Ellzey garnered more than 53% of the vote in Texas’ sixth congressional district, and results were reported from nearly all congressional districts.
“One of the things we’ve seen in this campaign is a positive outlook, a Republican outlook from Reagan, because the future of our country is what the people of the 6th Ward really want,” Ellzey told his supporters after his victory.
Ellzey is a Republican state legislator who finished a second to Wright in May, and that he only managed the second round by a narrow margin over a Democrat. The seat was opened after the death of Ron Wright, who in February became the first member of Congress to die after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Far from running on an anti-Trump platform, Ellzey did not try to distance himself from the former president twice accused. Instead, he sought to overcome Trump’s lack of endorsement by raising more money and showing other endorsements, including support from the former Texas governor. Rick Perry.
Trump had endorsed Susan Wright early in the special election and recorded an automated call to her at the end of the second round. Make America Great Action, a political action committee chaired by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, also made a $ 100,000 ad buy over the weekend.
But the result may show the limits of his influence with voters. Republicans have continued to prioritize loyalty to Trump since his defeat in November, even as Trump continues to falsely and baselessly claim that the election was stolen.
The North Texas district won by Ellzey, who narrowly lost the Republican nomination for the seat in 2018, has long been Republican territory. But Trump’s support in the district had also plummeted: After winning him by double digits in 2016, he carried him by just 3 percentage points last year, reflecting the trend of Texas’s booming suburbs turning purple and, in some places, completely blue. .
Ron Wright, who was 67 years old and had lung cancer, was just weeks away from his second term when he died. Susan Wright had also been diagnosed with COVID-19 and at one point was hospitalized with her husband.