Texas House candidate Susan Wright spotlights late husband's legacy, Trump's support, in runoff

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Susan Wright says her late husband always took his constituents' concerns to Washington and "that’s the legacy I want to continue."

Rep. Ron Wright died from COVID-19 in February and his widow, a longtime GOP activist, came in first in a field of 23 candidates this past weekend in a special election to fill her husband's House seat in Texas’ 6th Congressional District.

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In interviews this week with Fox News Digital and on "Fox and Friends," Susan Wright highlighted that "Ron was very active with constituents and he spent a lot of time here in the district with them, listening to them and taking their concerns to Washington and acting on that, and so I just want to continue to do that."

Wright won 19% of the vote in Saturday’s election to advance to a runoff with state Rep. Jake Ellzey, a Navy combat pilot veteran and fellow Republican who enjoys the backing of former longtime GOP Gov. Rick Perry. Ellzey came in second with 14% of the vote.

Wright had been endorsed by a healthy list of Texas Republicans and won the backing of the anti-tax Club for Growth, which has spent six figures to support her bid. But she got a very big boost last week when she landed the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who spoke on her behalf and took aim at President Biden during Wright's tele-town hall two days before the election.

"I was very excited to have his endorsement," she said of Trump, who more than three months removed from the White House remains extremely popular with Republican voters and immensely influential with GOP politicians.

"President Trump did a great job on the economy, on the border, on regulatory reform, on taxes, and I am very honored to have his support," Wright emphasized as she vowed to "continue the America First policies" of the Trump administration.

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She told Fox News that the former president "reached out and congratulated me" after she came in first on Saturday. Going forward as she battles Ellzey in the runoff, Wright said she would be "absolutely … happy to have his (Trump’s) help."

With her eyes on the runoff, Wright stressed that "our race is really the same. Our message is going to be the same. We’re still going to be a strong conservative voice."

She emphasized that "we want to secure the border. We want to strengthen the economy. We want to make permanent the Trump tax cuts and deregulation. We’re still a strong voice for the unborn. Those things aren’t going to change."

Texas’ Sixth Congressional District – which covers some southeastern parts of the city of Fort Worth and surrounding suburbs, as well as the exurbs and rural areas south of Dallas – was once a safely red district. Longtime GOP Rep. Joe Barton represented the district for nearly 35 years. Wright succeeded Barton in 2018 and was reelected in November, but won both times by single digits. At the time, Trump carried the district by just three points over Biden.

But the Democrats are shut out of the runoff, as Ellzey narrowly edged Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez – who lost to Ron Wright by single digits in the 2018 congressional election – for second place.

Overall, Republican candidates in the special election won roughly 62% of the vote in the extremely low-turnout election.

Ellzey said in a "Fox & Friends First" interview on Monday that the special election was "a referendum" on Biden and the Democratic-controlled Congress and argued that "this is just the first step in taking back the House in 2022."

Wright agreed with Ellzey, and also pointed to the recent border crisis as a contributing factor in Saturday's results.

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The candidate said that as she talked to voters, "what we're hearing is that people are terribly upset about what's going on at the southern border. They feel very strongly that President Trump did a good job securing the border and putting order to what was going on…. from day one President Biden has undone all that."

"Absolutely people in Texas are concerned about it. We are feeling the impact dramatically," Wright emphasized.

Paul Steinhauser Fox News