Texas State Rep. Jake Ellzey on Tuesday defeated Republican Susan Wright to replace her late husband, Ron Wright, in Congress, in what is a blow to former President Donald Trump, who endorsed the loser over the objections of major state GOP leaders, including former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Even after his disastrous presidency and historic election defeat, Trump had been perceived to be the leader of the Republican Party, both nationally and locally, so the 6th Congressional District special election was a test of his political clout.
Though he didn’t campaign for Wright in Texas, Trump hosted two virtual tele-rallies on her behalf, but couldn’t push her past Ellzey, who won more than 53 percent of the vote with nearly all precincts reporting. Ellzey and Wright were the top vote-getters in a May special election in which nobody won an outright majority of the vote, sparking the Tuesday contest.
“Big election tomorrow in the Great State of Texas! Susan Wright supports America First policies, our Military and our Veterans, is strong on Borders, tough on Crime, Pro-Life, and will always protect our Second Amendment. She will serve the people in the 6th Congressional District of Texas, and our Country, very well. Susan has my Complete and Total Endorsement,” Trump said in a statement Monday.
Bill Kristol and other prominent GOP critics of Trump, made financial contributions to Ellzey, which were highly publicized along with the candidate’s disparaging comments about effete Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
The election result is a sign that Republicans are capable of moving on from the tumultuous and divisive party leader, who was antithetical to whatever remains of ideological conservatism.
Republican officeholders and party officials have been enthusiastically endorsing pretty much any claim that Trump made, no matter how false or inane. Only a tiny number spoke up—among them, Sens. Mitt Romney and Jeff Flake along with Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger — but his his seem to have been on the defensive since the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The voter’s decision to reject Trump’s pick in Texas may encourage more Republican candidates to condemn his lies, the attempted coup d’état and elements of Fascism that the former president infused into the GOP in recent years.