Susan Wright, the Trump-backed Republican moving on to a runoff to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband, said Monday she wants to continue his legacy of community service if voters send her to Washington, D.C.
"It's just important to me to have someone to represent us who has been active in the community and who is tied to the community deeply," Wright told Fox News' "Fox & Friends."
Wright, the widow of the late Rep. Ron Wright, R-Texas, won the first-place spot after she was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. She will square off in the runoff against Texas state GOP Rep. John Kevin Ellzey Sr.
Republicans say the victory points to growing party strength in a district that has lately been considered as "purpling."
Wright's husband died after a diagnosis of COVID-19 in February.
"I feel very strongly that I would like to carry on his legacy," Wright said. "Ron was very active with the constituents, and he spent a lot of time in the district listening to them and taking their concerns to Washington and acting on that, so I just want to continue to do that."
Ellzey won by a slim margin of under 400 votes over Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez, who conceded the loss to the GOP lawmaker in a social media post. Wright took 19% of the vote in the 23-person field, and Ellzey took 14% to Sanchez's 13%. Eleven Republicans, 10 Democrats, 1 Libertarian, and 1 independent all vied on the ballot.
While Wright is endorsed by Trump, Ellzey is backed by former Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry.
With fewer than 400 votes separating Ellzey and Sanchez, Wright noted that the Democrats worked "really hard," but Republican voters "are more committed than ever" to backing Trump's "America First" agenda.
That plan, she said, calls for "resecuring the border, which was secure in January, to getting our economy back on track, and to continue the policies that worked so well for Texas."
"With our strong economy, low unemployment, low tax rates, it's just a reaffirmation that that's what people here want," she added of the Republican vote over the weekend.
Ellzey, who was on "Fox & Friends First" earlier in the morning, called the special election a referendum on the 2020 race between Trump and President Joe Biden, as well as against the president and the Democrat-controlled Congress, and it "has our base and our party fired up for going forward" toward retaking the House in 2022.
"I think he is exactly right about that," Wright said. "I think our party is pretty solid in that thought process. I think that's why we turned out so high, and I think that that's why I took the first slot, honestly."
The America First agenda, she added, "is a very passionate priority for the people in this district, and I'm very honored to have the support and endorsement of President Trump in this race, so I'm really excited to move ahead and go ahead and finish this out."
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