Elections 2021FederalRepublicans Susan Wright, Jake Ellzey Advance to Runoff in North Texas Congressional Special Election

The jungle special election in the North Texas congressional district has resulted in two Republicans moving on to a runoff, Susan Wright and Jake Ellzey.
May 1, 2021
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Susan Wright and state Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Midlothian) will be moving to a runoff election in Texas’ 6th Congressional District (TX-06).

Wright has worked as the district director for Republican state representatives in Tarrant County and is the widow of the previous congressman for the district, Ron Wright, who died in February.

“I can’t tell you how honored I am to be the first-place finisher in this special election to succeed my husband Ron,” said Wright in a press release. “From the beginning, this has been a grassroots campaign — and I’ve been so encouraged at the hundreds of endorsements I’ve picked up across TX-06, culminating with an amazing endorsement from President Trump this past week. I’m looking forward to making my case to voters in the runoff, winning, and representing the 6th District with the true conservative leadership they deserve.”

Ellzey, a freshman state representative out of Ellis County, previously ran for TX-06 when the seat was open in 2018, but lost to Wright’s late husband in the Republican primary runoff by 4.4 percent.

Democrats fell short of propelling one of their 10 candidates in the race to the runner-up position, though former TX-06 candidate Jana Lynne Sanchez came within a hair of taking the spot from Ellzey.

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Republicans, who raised two-thirds of the total funds poured into the special election, proved much more efficient at getting out the vote than Democrats.

While the median split of the vote between Republicans and Democrats in the district during 2018 and 2020 was about 54 percent to 46 percent, respectively, only about 36 percent of the vote in the special election on Saturday went to Democratic candidates.

The new Wright-Ellzey runoff election will likely take place sometime over the summer months but is yet to be set by Gov. Abbott.

Unlike the primary runoff in 2018, the runoff election this year will be open to voters of any party and is not reserved for only Republican primary voters.

Open as such, Democrats could sway the election toward their preferred GOP candidate, but that all depends on if Democratic voters show up for it.

Another factor in the runoff race will be the endorsements of the two candidates.

On that end, Wright still has the upper hand. She has the backing of a long list of state and local elected officials and GOP activists, and she also received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump last week.

While Trump had largely stayed out of the race, which included two former members of his administration and a candidate he had endorsed in a Nevada election, he jumped in at the last minute, joining a tele-town hall with voters in the district after early voting had ended to support Wright.

That last-minute get-out-the-vote tactic may have been a boon to Wright at Ellzey’s cost.

In the state representative’s home county, he had dominated the early voting with a 30 percent share, according to the unofficial results from the Texas secretary of state as of Saturday night.

Wright trailed in early voting results for Ellis County with 17 percent, but after Trump’s call, her share of the election day vote in the county jumped up to 28 percent and Ellzey’s share dropped to 21 percent.

Ellzey is not without his own notable endorsements, though.

As for political leaders, former Texas Governor Rick Perry is the biggest name that has been on the campaign trail with the state representative.

And while Wright has the support of the conservative Club for Growth PAC, Ellzey has the backing of the pro-veteran American Patriots PAC and the Elect Principled Veterans Fund.

Update: This article was updated to include a statement from Susan Wright.

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.