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Runoff Election to Decide Texas’ 6th CD Race Coming Tuesday

July 24, 2021 by Dan McCue
Susan Wright, left, and Jake Ellzey, the candidates in the special runoff election that will determine who represents the 6th Congressional District in Texas.

Voters in Texas’ 6th Congressional District will decide which Republican candidate will fill the vacancy left by Rep. Ronald Wright, R-Texas, who died of COVID-19 related complications on Feb. 7.

On the ballot Tuesday are Susan Wright, the representative’s widow and a longtime player in GOP politics in the Lone Star State, and freshman state Rep. Jake Ellzey.

The two Republicans advanced to the runoff election after neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the special election on May 1. 

Wright received 19.2% of the vote to Ellzey’s 13.8% in a contest featuring 23 candidates.

Heading into Tuesday, Ellzey faces several challenges. First, he has to overcome the perception that Wright is her late husband’s heir apparent, given their close working relationship for many years.

He also has to sweep past the influence of former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Wright in April, and Sen. Ted Cruz and the Texas Republican Party, who have backed her candidacy.

Finally he’s got to address a string of withering attacks from the Club for Growth, the national anti-tax group backing Wright.

The club  has saturated the district with campaign mailers and video ads that portray Ellzey as anti-Trump and a tool of Democrats. At least one of the mailers features House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as prominently as it features Ellzey.

Ellzey has pushed back, calling the Club for Growth’s charges “outlandish” and “easily refutable.”

“Everybody is tired of the divisiveness within our country, within our party,” Ellzey has said.

All of which is not to say Ellzey is without his own strong, high-profile supporters.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a fellow military pilot, embraced the 51-year-old’s candidacy early, believing the Navy combat veteran is a true conservative who will take care of the nation’s veterans.

Ellzey has also been endorsed by former U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, who represented District 6 for 34 years. 

Barton, who hired Ron Wright as his district director and then chief of staff, threw his support behind Ellzey in part because of the attack ads levied by the Club for Growth.

If there is one area in which Ellzey has a decided edge in the final weekend of the campaign, it’s in fundraising.

According to her pre-runoff Federal Election Commission filing, Wright raised  just $454,286 between April 12 and July 7, bringing her  election cycle total to $740,617. 

Ellzey, meanwhile raised more than $1.2 million in the same time period and has an election cycle-to-date haul of $1.7 million. 

The 6th Congressional District is located in the northeastern portion of the state and includes Ellis and Navarro counties and an area of Tarrant County.

Three special elections to the 117th Congress have taken place so far in 2021. The election in Texas’ 6th is one of four more currently scheduled.

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