Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff
The Associated Press called the race for 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.
The election was triggered after the February death of Rep. Ron Wright (R), Susan Wright’s husband.
Susan Wright ran with endorsements from Trump and his conservative allies, including the anti-tax Club for Growth. Trump also did a telerally with Wright the day before the runoff.
“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.
Conservatives had also sought to downplay Ellzey’s Republican bona fides by highlighting a past donation he received from Bill Kristol, a prominent GOP critic of Trump.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), a Trump ally himself, was quick to congratulate Ellzey.
“Jake will be a strong and effective leader for the people of North Texas and he will fight tirelessly for their values in Washington," Abbott said in a statement. "I look forward to working alongside Jake as we keep Texas the greatest state in the nation.”
Ellzey, declaring victory Tuesday at an election night party, invoked former President Reagan.
"One of the things that we’ve seen from this campaign is a positive outlook — a Reagan Republican outlook for the future of our country — is what the people of the 6th District really, really want," Ellzey said.
Ellzey’s win also capped off a disappointing race for Democrats, who had hoped to be competitive in the suburban district near Dallas, only to be narrowly shut out of the runoff. It's unclear if any Democratic voters in the runoff boosted Ellzey as a way to rebuke Trump and his chosen candidate.
The win in the runoff now means Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can only afford three defections in a vote to still pass legislation in the House.