Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins GOP runoff for Panhandle congressional race

Ronny Jackson was endorsed by President Donald Trump in his bid for Texas' 13th Congressional District. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician and President Donald Trump’s onetime nominee for secretary of veterans affairs, has won his bid for the Republican nomination for a solidly red congressional seat in the Texas Panhandle.

With 100% of polling locations reporting, though some mail-in ballots will still need to be counted, Jackson held a lead of 11 percentage points over Josh Winegarner, a veteran agriculture expert and lobbyist. Jackson and Winegarner were competing for a seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, who is retiring and held the seat since 1995.

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The district covers most of the Panhandle and reaches as far east as the Fort Worth suburbs.

Jackson also enjoyed the support of President Donald Trump, who campaign for Jackson as late as Monday in a telephone town hall, and the conservative group Club for Growth. Winegarner, meanwhile, ran on his local roots and his deep ties to the agriculture industry.

Trump nominated Jackson last year to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, but he withdrew from consideration amid allegations of professional misconduct, including drinking on the job and overprescribing medication. He called the accusations "completely false and fabricated."

Jackson declared victory in a tweet Tuesday night: "I promise I WILL MAKE YOU PROUD IN CONGRESS"

Jackson is one of two prominent Republicans seeking a return by securing runoff victories in solid red congressional seats in Texas. To the southeast, former U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions led medical office manager Renee Swann in the GOP primary for most of the evening in the heavily Republican Texas 17th District. More votes needed to be counted in that race, however. With just under half of polling locations reporting, Sessions held an eight percentage point lead.

Sessions previously represented the Dallas-based 32nd Congressional District since 1996, but lost reelection in 2018 to current U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, a Democrat. He moved 100 miles south to Waco prior to entering the District 17 race.

Swann and Sessions are vying to replace U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, who is retiring. Flores vigorously supported Swann over his former colleague, Sessions, to succeed him in the seat he held since 2011.

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