ARLINGTON — North Texas voters on Tuesday will elect a replacement for the late Ron Wright, who died in February shortly after winning a second term.
Wright’s widow, Republican activist Susan Wright, is running for the District 6 seat in Congress against state Rep. Jake Ellzey.
On Monday both candidates were trying to finish strong.
Wright joined former President Donald Trump in a tele-rally aimed at turning out Trump supporters at the polls. The telephone event follows a weekend when Trump’s super PAC, called Make America Great Again Action, paid $100,000 for a small television advertising campaign. That ad buy was also designed to signal to Trump’s loyal followers that he’s backing Wright against Ellzey.
And on Monday, Trump restated his endorsement.
“Big election tomorrow in the Great State of Texas!” he said in an email. “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.”
Trump’s endorsement, sought by many of the 23 candidates who ran in the May primary, is expected to weigh heavily on the race, particularly since he’s still considered the leader of the GOP.
But for Trump, backing Wright in a sleepy North Texas race carries some risk. Low turnout elections are hard to predict, and Ellzey represents a significant portion of the district, which includes Tarrant, Ellis and Navarro counties, in the Texas Legislature.
Ellzey has also raised more campaign cash than Wright, though she’s been boosted by outside groups.
Tarrant County is the largest portion of the district, but its share of the vote, while still the biggest at well over 60%, dipped during last week’s early voting period, when compared to the May election, when Tarrant County voters made up about 70% of the overall turnout.
Along with Trump, Wright is backed by Sen. Ted Cruz, former Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and the anti-tax group called the Club for Growth. The group’s political arm has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads that tout Wright and malign Ellzey. The state representative’s supporters have called the mailers and ads unfair distortions of his record. But Club for Growth leaders stand by the mailers, which describe Ellzey as anti-Trump, soft on border security and a tool of Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I like where we are in this race,” said Matthew Langston, Wright’s chief campaign consultant. “We’re in a strong position. I’d rather be us than them.”
Ellzey, who has had to manage attending a special legislative session in Austin with campaigning for Congress, has been making final pitches to voters in the district. Over the past several days Ellzey’s campaign mailers have shown up in mailboxes, including those where Democrats live.
One mailer states that Ellzey would make improving public education a top priority.
“We mail to everybody,” said Craig Murphy, Ellzey’s chief campaign consultant. He added that Wright has also been courting Democratic Party voters, a charge that the Wright campaign disputes.
“We’ve had strong support at the polls during early voting,” Murphy said. “Now we’re finishing up the…