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Texas 6th District House Special Election Headed to Runoff

April 30, 2021 by Dan McCue
Fountain. Austin, Texas. (Photo by Dan McCue)

 Susan Wright, who is seeking the seat held since 2019 by her late husband, Republican Rep. Ron Wright, secured one of two slots in an as yet unscheduled runoff election.

She was one of 23 candidates vying to replace her husband, who died in February after a battle with cancer and covid-19 on Feb. 7. With 100% of the votes in, she received 19.2% of the vote.

GOP state Rep. Jake Ellzey and Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez are locked in a tight race for the second spot, separated by just 354 votes as of 1 a.m. In terms of percentages, they received 13.8% and 13.4% of the vote, respectively.

Sanchez advancing would set up a potentially competitive contest and give Democrats a chance to give their narrow House majority a bit more breathing room. Ellzey coming in second would ensure Republicans hold the seat.

The candidates in the race included 11 Republicans, 10 Democrats, one independent and one libertairan, and the race is seen as coming at a critical moment for the Texas Republican party, which has struggled to find its way since former President Donald Trump left office in January.

Election watchers said the highly competitive race in Texas’s 6th congressional district should serve to clarify the level of support Trump still has in the state. 

On Monday, the former president gave his late endorsement to Wright’s widow.

“Susan Wright will be a terrific Congresswoman (TX-06) for the Great State of Texas,” Trump said through his Save America PAC. “She is the wife of the late Congressman Ron Wright, who has always been supportive of our America First Policies. 

“Susan will be strong on the Border, Crime, Pro-Life, our brave Military and Vets, and will ALWAYS protect your Second Amendment. Early voting is NOW underway—and the Special Election takes place on Saturday, May 1st. Get out and VOTE! Susan has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” he said.

Meanwhile some Democrats continued to believe the party had a chance — not a great one, but a chance — to flip the district.

According to Ballotopedia, the district has become more competitive in both presidential and congressional elections since 2012.

 In 2020, Donald Trump won the district 51-48, running behind Wright, who won 53-44. In 2016, Trump won the district 54-42, while then-Rep. Joe Barton, also a Republican, won 58-39. 

In 2012, Republican Mitt Romney won the district 58-41 while Rep. Barton won re-election 58-39. 

Midterm elections in the district have followed the same trend. In 2018, Wright won re-election 53-45, while Barton won 61-36 in 2014, the website said.

Wright, a longtime GOP activist, ran primarily on wanting to secure her husband’s legacy representing the district, though did embrace Trump’s endorsement.

Sanchez, who has worked as a journalist and in communications, was the Democratic candidate for the seat in 2018.

Ellzey is a Navy veteran who lost to Ron Wright in the 2018 primary. He represents a state House district south of Dallas and has had the support of former Texas governor and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

As of April 30, 2021, six special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. 

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