Republican Susan Wright makes US House runoff in Texas

Volunteer Al Green looks at his phone as he takes a break from holding a sign supporting his candidate in a local election outside an early voting location Tuesday, April 27, 2021, in Mansfield, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero) (Lm Otero, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

AUSTIN, Texas – Republican Susan Wright of Texas, the widow of the first member of Congress to die after contracting COVID-19, secured a place in a U.S. House runoff for her late husband’s seat Saturday night.

With votes still being counted, Wright was ahead with more than 18% of the vote in Texas' 6th Congressional District. Close behind were Republican Jake Ellzey and Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez for the other runoff spot.

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Wright, a GOP activist, moved on with the backing of President Donald Trump, who waited until this week to formally make an endorsement in a crowded field of 23 candidates. Susan Wright's late husband, Rep. Ron Wright, died in February after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He was 67 and had also been battling lung cancer.

The date of the runoff has not yet been announced.

The North Texas district includes the booming corridor between Dallas and Fort Worth, and it has long been safe Republican territory. But Trump also saw his support there plummet in last year’s election, carrying the district by just three points — a sharp fall from his double-digit advantage there in 2016.

Ten Democrats in the running had hoped that was a sign of an opening in the special election. But the race drew little investment from Democrats nationally after their massive expectations for Texas in 2020 foundered.