Over 20 candidates filed with the secretary of state for a place on the ballot and combined, candidates have brought in more than $3 million into the race.
Susan Wright had emerged as an early frontrunner, securing a lengthy list of endorsements of state and local elected officials and GOP party leaders.
Competing for the Republican vote, state Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie) and former Health and Human Services chief of staff Brian Harrison have also emerged as contenders for the likely runoff election.
Recent polling has shown that Wright still holds a lead in the crowded field, but with many voters also still saying they were undecided, the election could swing a different way.
But an endorsement from Trump on Monday may tilt the odds more in Wright’s favor.
On Thursday evening, Trump spoke highly of Wright at a tele-town hall coordinated by the fiscally conervative Club for Growth PAC — a group that has spent over $300,000 in the race attacking Ellzey or supporting Wright.
“Susan is a committed conservative who will fight for our America-first agenda,” said Trump. “We want to have Susan in [Congress] immediately. It’s another vote and it’s another very strong voice.”
During the call, Trump listed off a number of issues where he says Wright will be strong, including strengthening border security, protecting veterans, and fighting for school choice, religious liberty, the right to life, and the Second Amendment.
“Susan also is a big fan of what I say about the fake news media, because there are no greater fakes than the people in the media — they are horrible,” said Trump.
As the former president waded into the race to back Wright, former Texas Governor Rick Perry has been backing Ellzey.
On Thursday, as the Club for Growth was preparing for the Trump-Wright town hall, Ellzey released a new video of Perry attacking the organization as an “East-coast elite group” and criticizing them as anti-Trump for their spending against him during the 2016 Republican primary.
Perry was also reportedly going to be campaigning on the ground with Ellzey on Friday.
But Wright and Ellzey aren’t just competing against each other for the seat.
Unless one of the 23 candidates on the ballot receives over 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will be moving on to a runoff election.
With Republicans receiving around 54 percent of the vote on average in 2018 and 2019, Democrats could be in the running if Democratic voters coalesce around a single candidate.
Jana Lynne Sanchez, the Democratic nominee against Ron Wright when the seat was open in 2018, has been the purported front runner among Democrats, though she is facing strong competition from Shawn Lassiter, a former Fort Worth teacher, and Lydia Bean, who previously ran for a Fort Worth state House seat.
Unless the vote tallies are close for the runner-up position and require a recount — something quite possible in the crowded, competitive race — the two candidates who will be facing each other in a runoff will be determined after the election tomorrow, Saturday, May 1.
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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.