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Special election sees MAGA prevail as Dems fail to pick up Texas seat

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The election results in Texas for the seat vacated by the late Rep. Ron Wright, the first member of Congress to die from COVID-19, bodes well for the Republican Party in its quest to take back the House in 2022.

Susan Wright, who was married to the deceased Republican lawmaker, advanced to a runoff for the Sixth Congressional District seat, along with fellow Republican Jake Ellzey. There were 23 candidates in all vying for the seat, with the Democratic candidates receiving just 36% of the total vote, in a district former President Donald Trump won in 2020 by just 3 points.

Trump endorsed Wright, who received 19.2% of the vote, with Ellzey, who was backed by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, receiving 13.8% — to avoid a run0ff, candidates were required to get over 50%. The former president said in his endorsement that Wright is supportive of his America First agenda and would be strong on the border and the Second Amendment.

He congratulated Wright on her success in a released statement.

“Congratulations to Susan Wright on her great surge yesterday which made her NUMBER ONE and assures her participation in the TX-06 runoff against another Republican,” Trump said. “The Democrats have just conceded the race. Susan surged after I gave her an endorsement last week. Her wonderful husband is looking down, and is very proud of her!”

Taking to Twitter late Saturday, Wright tweeted a gif of Trump giving a thumbs up, along with the caption: “Let’s go win this! #MAGA”

As to the question of influence on the Republican Party, virulent Trump-hater Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., backed GOP candidate Michael Wood in the race. Woods saw just 3.2% of the vote.

“The Trump thing, it’s got nowhere to go but down. It’s not growing,” Kinzinger said during an appearance in the district last week with Wood, who ran on a decidedly anti-Trump message.

So much for his prognosticator skills.

Given how elections seem to trend lately, there will apparently be no Democratic shenanigans in contesting the outcome.

Jana Lynne Sanchez, the top drawing Democrat with 13.4% of the vote, conceded the race on Sunday, thanking volunteers, staff and supporters — Sanchez was the party’s  candidate for the seat in 2018.

“Democrats have come a long way toward competing in Texas but we still have a long way to go. Unfortunately, tonight we came up short, and two Republicans will be competing to represent this Congressional district,” Sanchez wrote. “We’ll keep fighting for a healthier, equitable and prosperous Texas and to elect leaders who care about meeting the needs of Texans, although it won’t happen in this district immediately.”

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa responded to the stinging loss by essentially putting lipstick on a pig, praising Sanchez for her “hard-fought campaign” while talking about turning the state blue.

“The clear enthusiasm in this election is one more sign that Texas is moving closer and closer to turning blue with every year that passes,” Hinojosa said in a statement. “The new Democratic South is rising, and we will continue to rally our movement to take back our state — including as we look toward the 2022 governor’s race.”

The race took on an ugly aspect when Wright was accused in a series of robocalls of “killing her husband” by intentionally giving him COVID-19.

Calling the effort “disgusting gutter politics,” her campaign referred the call to law enforcement.

“When we heard reports of this criminal smear of a voicemail attacking Susan, we immediately referred the matter to law enforcement and started cooperating with authorities,” Wright’s campaign consultant Matt Langston said in a statement Friday. “Susan’s opponents are desperate and resorting to disgusting gutter politics because they know she’s the front-runner. I’m looking forward to someone going to jail over these robocalls.”

Tom Tillison

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