By H. Harrison Coleman IV
On May 1, Republican contenders for an open U.S. House of Representatives special election in Texas’ 6th Congressional District Susan Wright and Jake Ellzey advanced to a runoff election, having won the most and second-most votes, respectively.
Ellzey and Wright beat out a large group of candidates on May 1, eleven Republicans, ten Democrats, one Libertarian and an Independent candidate. The best performing Democrat, activist and 2020 Democratic congressional nominee for the district Jana Sanchez, lost out on making the runoff by 400 votes, winning 10,497 votes to Jake Ellzey’s 10,851. Ellzey and Wright, who won 15,052 votes, will face each other in a May 24 runoff election.
The special election was called by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), after the incumbent Representative, Ron Wright, died of COVID-19 on February 7. The special election was expected to be competitive, as the district had trended towards the Democrats in recent years. President Donald Trump won the suburban Dallas district by three points in 2020, compared to his twelve-point victory in the district in his 2016 campaign.
Sanchez’s inability to qualify for the runoff has been taken by some as an ominous indicator for the Democratic Party in their attempt to protect their narrow House majority in the 2022 midterm elections.
Many expect Ellzey to lose to Wright in the May 24 runoff, as Wright is the widow of the late Representative Ron Wright. Should this happen, 2021 will mark the first year in U.S. history that two Representatives died and were replaced by their widows in special elections. In addition to the special election in TX-06, a special election was held in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional district on March 20, with the late Representative Luke Letlow being replaced by his widow, Julia Letlow.