Voters Reject Trump-Endorsed Republican in Texas Special Election

July 28, 2021 by Dan McCue
Jake Ellzey

First-term Texas State Rep. Jake Ellzey defeated fellow Republican Susan Wright in a special runoff  election in Texas’s 6th Congressional District Tuesday night, dealing former President Donald Trump a defeat in terms of the enduring power of his endorsement.

Ellzey received 53.3% of the vote to Wright’s 46.7%.

The seat opened up following the death of Rep. Ron Wright, who in February became the first member of Congress to die from complications of COVID-19.

Ellzey, who finished second to Susan Wright in May, and who only narrowly made the runoff over a Democratic candidate, told supporters on Tuesday night that he believed he ultimately won due to his campaign’s “positive outlook.”

It was, he said, “a Reagan Republican outlook.” One that reflected a future for the country “that the people of the 6th district really, really want.” 

But what many people were talking about Wednesday morning was how the outcome reflected on Trump, who had endorsed Susan Wright early in the special election and recorded a robocall for her late in the runoff. 

He also attempted to give her campaign a boost on Monday with an election-eve virtual rally, and his Make America Great Again Action PAC reportedly made a last-minute $100,000 ad buy over the weekend.

But Ellzey outraised Wright by a 2-to-1 margin among smaller dollar donors and collected the support of a number of high profile Texas conservatives, including former Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, who defended Ellzey against a barrage of attacks from the Club for Growth, an anti-tax group.

Supporters of Trump insisted Wednesday the race was not a litmus test for the former president’s continued appeal to GOP voters, but rather a reflection of Texas’s fast-growing suburbs trending from red to purple.

They note that Trump won the north Texas congressional district by double-digits in 2016, but carried it by only three percentage points in 2020.

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