A Trump-endorsed candidate lost Tuesday to a fellow Republican in a closely watched Texas congressional race, undermining Trump’s claims that his endorsement is essential to a candidate’s success and emboldening his political opponents ahead of the 2022 elections.
Ellzey scored a come-from-behind victory over Trump-backed Susan Wright, the widow of the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, in a special congressional election runoff near Dallas. Ellzey took more than 53% of the vote in Texas’ 6th Congressional District, with results from almost all precincts reported.
After Ron Wright in February became the first member of Congress to die after being diagnosed with COVID-19, his widow Susan Wright declared her candidacy. She picked up support from numerous Republicans, including Trump, and finished first in an open special election in May with 19% of the vote.
Trump endorsed Wright in April. His political action committee made a last-minute $100,000 television ad buy for her over the weekend, campaign finance records show, and he made a personal pitch for her during a telephone rally Monday night.
“Ellzey’s victory suggests a Trump endorsement may not be all that is cracked up to be, while also highlighting Wright’s weakness as a candidate and the ineffectual campaign she and her advisors ran, hoping to coast to victory based on Trump’s endorsement,” said Mark Jones, a Rice University political science professor.
Trump won the district by three percentage points in the 2020 presidential election, a nine-point slide from four years earlier.
Trump gets to try again next week in Ohio’s special election for a House seat.