Former President Donald Trump on Monday said his critics in the Democratic Party, and some in the Republican Party, are refusing to credit him with helping Susan Wright in making the runoff for the U.S. House seat in Texas on Saturday.
"Please explain to the Democrats and RINOs [Republicans in Name Only] that the reason Texas-06 completely shut out Democrats in Saturday's Jungle Primary is because of my Endorsement of Susan Wright, who surged last week after receiving it," Trump said in a statement issued by his Save America PAC.
Wright, whose husband was the first member of Congress to die after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and Republican Jake Ellzey, received the most votes, and advanced to the runoff. Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez was narrowly locked out of the runoff in Texas' 6th Congressional District, which has long been GOP territory.
"The Democrats were shut out and now it will be a contest between two Republicans, a very big win," Trump said. "It would be nice, however, if the pundits and Fake News Media would state the real reason for this unprecedented (Democrats have never been shut out before) victory!"
With nearly all votes counted, Sanchez had trailed Ellzey by 354 votes. She said in a statement Sunday that her campaign "came up short."
"Democrats have come a long way toward competing in Texas but we still have a long way to go," Sanchez said in a statement.
Ellzey is a state lawmaker who narrowly lost the GOP nomination for the seat in 2018 and carried the backing of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Susan Wright had already been seen as a favorite in a crowded race to fill the seat of her late husband, who died in February after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He was 67.
The date of the runoff has not yet been set.
Wright is a longtime GOP activist, who finished with about 23% of the vote, while Ellzey finished with 14% in the crowded field of 23 candidates.
Wright had told the Washington Examiner that a run for Congress was "nothing that I had ever thought about doing" until she received encouragement to do so after her husband died. In addition to Trump, she also was endorsed by the Club for Growth.
She is the second Republican woman to run for her husband's congressional seat in a special election after he died from COVID-19. Rep. Julia Letlow, R-La., won the seat that was vacated when her husband, Rep.-elect Luke Letlow, died in December before he was sworn into office.
The second-place finisher in the Texas race, Ellzey, is a former Navy fighter pilot who previously came in second behind Ron Wright in the 2018 GOP primary. He had the largest fundraising effort, with $400,000 in cash-on-hand as of April 19, according to the Examiner.
Ex-pro wrestler Dan Rodimer, who sought a seat in Congress in Nevada in 2020, moved to Texas to seek the seat, but finished in the low single digits, as did combat veteran Michael Wood, the only Republican to run on an anti-Trump platform.
Wood received $7,000 from Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who has launched an anti-Trump PAC as well as Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzales and No. 3 House Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who also contributed the same amount to Wright's campaign.
The Associated Press contributed.
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