- Democrats likely tipped a Texas special election away from a Trump-endorsed candidate, according to The Texas Tribune.
- Jake Ellzey won Tuesday’s special election over his fellow Republican Susan Wright.
- Ellzey was sworn in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A new Republican member of Congress from Texas likely won his election thanks to support from Democrats, according to a report from The Texas Tribune.
Rep. Jake Ellzey, who defeated the Trump-backed candidate Susan Wright in a special election in Texas’s 6th Congressional District on Tuesday, was sworn in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday morning.
-Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 30, 2021
The special election was triggered after Ron Wright, a Republican who had held the Dallas-area seat since 2019, died of COVID-19 in February. His widow, Susan, soon entered the special election to succeed the late congressman, earning the backing of former President Donald Trump and the Club for Growth, a conservative group.
While several Democratic candidates entered the race, Wright and Ellzey came in first and second in a May 1 primary election. But Democrats apparently still found a way to influence the race.
Allison Campolo, the chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, told The Texas Tribune that Democrats could’ve approached the election either by voting for Ellzey as a way to “stick it to Trump” or by casting a blank ballot. Just 83 people opted to do the latter in Tarrant County.
The Democratic candidate Jana Lynne Sanchez, who ran in the special election and was locked out of the runoff by just a few hundred votes, put it more bluntly. “It was basically a f— you to Trump,” she said.
The Texas Tribune said outside groups also courted Democrats on Ellzey’s behalf, with one anonymous text sent to voters on election day addressed to “LIBERALS” that said “today is our final chance to defeat Trump-endorsed conservative Susan Wright.”
A campaign worker tipped off the Wright campaign about a prospective loss on Tuesday afternoon, telling her campaign manager that voters entering polling places were “all wearing masks,” The Texas Tribune reported.
Axios reported Trump advisors blamed the loss on Club for Growth, even while avoiding casting the election as a rebuke.
“This is the only race we’ve … this is not a loss, again, I don’t want to claim it is a loss, this was a win. …The big thing is, we had two very good people running that were both Republicans. That was the win,” he told Axios.