The wife of late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, Susan Wright, has a narrow early lead over State Rep. Jake Ellzey in the race for Congressional District 6.
Wright has 15.73% of the votes to Ellzey’s 15.71% according unofficial numbers from the New York Times. The two were separated by just 10 votes just after 7 p.m. Next behind them was Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez with 14.01%.
Twenty-three candidates are running to for Texas’ 6th Congressional District, previously held by late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, who died in February after battles with lung cancer and COVID-19. The district includes most of Arlington and Mansfield and all of Ellis and Navarro counties.
The race has garnered national attention as a test of former President Donald Trump’s sway in contested districts. The district has historically been held by a Republican, though candidates in the race on both sides of the aisle believe its competitive.
There are 11 Republicans, 10 Democrats, an independent and a Libertarian running. Given the large field, the race is expected to go into a runoff between the top two vote-getters. Political observers are watching to see who makes it into the runoff and what political parties they represent.
Republican candidates include Susan Wright, Ellzey, who ran for the seat in 2018, Brian Harrison, who served as chief of staff of the Health and Human Services department under Trump, and former professional wrestler Dan Rodimer. Democrats includes Sanchez, who ran for the seat in 2018 and lost to Wright by less than 8 percentage points, Lydia Bean, the 2020 Democratic candidate Texas House District 93, and Shawn Lassiter, a nonprofit leader and former teacher.
Candidates and their supporters made final appeals to voters in recent days. Trump weighed in on the race as early voting was underway and reached out to voters in a Thursday tele-town hall for Wright hosted by national conservative organization Club for Growth.
“Susan is a committed conservative who will fight for our America first agenda to make America great again,” Trump said on the call.
Club for Growth has focused much of its attention on supporting Wright while questioning State Rep. Jake Ellzey’s conservative credentials. Wright and Ellzey have been considered among the front-runners in the Republican pool. Ellzey, traveling the district with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry who served in Trump’s administration as Secretary of Energy, defended his record.
“I don’t deal in that kind of stuff and I don’t respond to it, so they can do that all they want to but I know that the people I live with here in Waxahachie, TX… don’t respond well to that kind of media, that kind of display, especially from our own party,” he said. “Anybody who knows me knows that I am a conservative, and I’m proud to be so.”
Sanchez took Facebook Saturday, where she encouraged those in the district vote and help flip it blue.
“Pick your congress person — vote for me, Jana Lynne Sanchez — pick your school board members, your city council members and your mayors,” she said in a Facebook live video.