Texas state legislator Jake Ellzey on Tuesday won a U.S. House seat in a race against a candidate backed by former President Donald Trump.
Ellzey, a Republican, was in the race for a vacant House seat in the Texas special congressional election runoff against Susan Wright, another Republican and the widow of the late Rep. Ron Wright, who had occupied the seat from 2019 until his death on Feb. 7.
Trump in April endorsed Wright, 58, who had sought to finish her late husband’s term in the House after he was reelected in November 2020.
With almost all precincts reporting in Texas’ 6th Congressional District, Ellzey received 53.3 percent of the vote, over Wright with 46.8 percent, per the Texas Secretary of State.
Less than 40,000 people voted in the runoff election, representing a small percentage of eligible voters.
The two Republicans had emerged from 23 candidates in the first round of voting on May 1, with Democrats shut out of the contest. Ellzey had finished second to Wright in May, and had narrowly made the runoff over a Democrat.
With the seat filled, Democrats’ narrow 220-211 majority in the U.S. House will be reduced by one seat as they try to pass through Congress a sweeping $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
Trump on the eve of the election issued a statement saying that 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.
Ellzey, 51, had the support of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas).
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement to media outlets late Tuesday, “Jake will be a strong and effective leader for the people of North Texas and he will fight tirelessly for their values in Washington. I look forward to working alongside him.”
Ellzey, a former U.S. Navy pilot from Waxahachie who flew combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, was elected to the Texas State House in 2020.
Federal Election Commission data showed that he exceeded Wright in fundraising, taking in $1.7 million through July 7, $1 million more than Wright.
Trump won Texas’ 6th Congressional District by three percentage points in the 2020 presidential election, a nine-point slide from four years prior.
The Trump-allied fund-raising arm of the conservative Club for Growth based in Washington, D.C., said it had spent over $1 million in television ads and mailers for Wright, reported Reuters. The ads proclaimed Trump’s endorsement of Wright and sharply attacked Ellzey, charging that Democrats are trying to get him elected.
Ellzey declared victory at an election night party on Tuesday.
“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, reported Patrick Svitek for the Texas Tribune.
Wright, congratulated Ellzey, writing on Twitter, “Special elections are special, and this one was no exception. I want to congratulate Congressman-elect Jake Ellzey on his victory. I am praying for his success & wish him well.”
Reuters contributed to this report.