As unofficial results began coming in on Tuesday evening, Ellzey pulled ahead of Susan Wright in early votes by about six points. That lead held throughout the evening, without Wright enjoying the surge of votes on election day that she did in the May special election.
“One of the things that we’ve seen from this campaign is a positive outlook, a Reagan Republican outlook, for the future of our country is what the people in the sixth district really, really want,” said Ellzey in a victory speech on Tuesday night.
TX-06 currently includes the southeastern portion of Tarrant County, Ellis County, and Navarro County.
Ellzey previously ran for the district in the 2018 GOP primary, when the seat was last open, but lost to Ron Wright. In 2020, he was elected to the state legislature for the House district covering Ellis County.
After the congressman’s death in February, Ellzey announced a campaign for the seat alongside a slew of other candidates, including Ron Wright’s widow, Susan Wright.
Susan Wright, backed by a long list of endorsements that included former President Donald Trump, led in the May special election with 19 percent of the vote and Ellzey trailed in second with 14 percent.
While several Democrats competed in the district that stretches into the Tarrant County suburbs, none secured enough of the vote in May to advance to a runoff.
Despite Wright’s support from Trump, who held a tele-townhall in support of her the day before the runoff election, Ellzey was able to pull ahead at the polls.
He had outraised Wright by a substantial margin and had the support of former Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02).
Ellzey’s vote was also likely buoyed by Democrat voters.
Stephen Daniel, the Democratic nominee for the district in 2020, said that he would be voting for Ellzey and urged other Democrats to do the same in order “to make sure the Trump-endorsed Susan Wright loses.”
Text messages reportedly went out to Democrats in the district urging them to vote against Wright.
One message attributed to Ellzey’s campaign said that “Jake is committed to being a champion for our Public Education System and wants to ensure ALL our voices are heard,” and highlighted Trump’s endorsement of Wright.
Jana Lynne Sanchez, the Democratic nominee for the district in 2018 who narrowly lost the runner-up position to Ellzey in May, celebrated his victory over Wright, saying, “Stick a fork in her. She’s done. Stick a fork in Trump. He’s done.”
When the initial early vote totals were released on Tuesday evening at the close of the polls, Ellzey commanded a six-point lead over Wright, strongest in his native Ellis County where he led with 58 percent of the vote to Wright’s 42 percent.
Even in Wright’s home of Tarrant County — which is also where the highest concentration of Democrats in the district reside — Ellzey led by a few hundred votes, though Wright had a slight lead in Navarro County.
“Special elections are special, and this one was no exception,” said Wright. “I want to congratulate Congressman-elect Jake Ellzey on his victory. I am praying for his success & wish him well. I will never forget the kindness the people of [TX-06] have shown Ron & I for so many years. Thank you.”
Ellzey will fill the remainder of the current term in Congress through the end of 2021.
Update: This article was updated to include a statement from Susan Wright.
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Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.