Texas state Rep. Jake Ellzey will win the special election runoff in Texas' 6th Congressional District, CNN projects -- without the endorsement of Donald Trump.The Republican overcame the former President's backing of his opponent, Republican Susan Wright, to claim victory. Wright is the widow of the late Rep. Ron Wright, who had cancer and died in February after contracting Covid-19.Trump endorsed Susan Wright shortly before the first round of voting, which ended with none of the 23 candidates securing a winning majority, then doubled down ahead of her one-
Rep.-Elect Jake Ellzey
on-one race with Ellzey. He recorded a robocall for Wright in the final days of the campaign and his super PAC, Make America Great Again Action, made a late $100,000 ad buy.Despite his inability to boost Wright into Congress, the results were not a full rebuke of Trump, who remains popular in the state. But the result showed the limits of his influence -- at least at the ballot box. On the trail, both candidates embraced his political agenda and there was little daylight between them on the policy front. The dividing lines, ultimately, formed around endorsements and alliances.Trump narrowly won the district in 2020, an increasingly competive one in North Texas that includes Ellis, Navarro and parts of Tarrant counties. His margin of victory diminished from 2016 and was down from former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's four years earlier.
The result is being touted as evidence of the limits of Trump's control over GOP voters. That's being overblown. The election was a run-off election between two Republicans. Ellzey had narrowly edged out a Democrat for second place which qualified him to participate in the run-off. No doubt with Trump campaigning for Wright, a number of Democratic voters decided to cast their run-off votes for Ellzey.
If the matchup were simply a primary with GOP voters, Wright no doubt would have won the head-to-head contest. Ellzey's strategy though earned him a significant share of the GOP vote in the run-off and his reaching out to Democratic voters in the district during the final weeks of the campaign is no doubt what allowed him to edge out Wright.
OOP's short takes:
- No doubt House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempted appointment of Rep. Jim Jordan to the January 6th Select Committee was done to placate former President Trump. Now we find out today that Jordan had talked to Trump on the day of the attempted insurrection and may be called as a witness. Thus, it would have been inappropriate for him to sit on the committee.
- I heard an analyst say yesterday that Trump was also behind Rep. Jim Banks' appointment, but was against the other three members McCarthy offered to Speaker Pelosi as Republican representatives. I'm not buying that. While Trump might have seen Banks on cable news spinning BS in an effort to ingratiate himself with the former President, I doubt he could pick the other three, Reps. Rodney Davis, Kelly Armstrong and Troy Nehls, out of a lineup.
- It is increasingly looking like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has made a serious mistake in withdrawing his appointments to the January 6th Select Committee studying the attempted insurrection. The testimony of the police officers yesterday was compelling and provocative. Reportedly, Trump is upset that nobody was defending him on the Committee.
- Even though it likely was Trump's idea that McCarthy withdraw the appointments, the former President won't hesitate in putting the blame squarely on McCarthy's shoulders should things continue to go south.
- "Conservative" activist and radio host Charlie Kirk called American gymnast Simone Biles a "selfish sociopath" and a "shame to the country." Kirk said "[w]e are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles."
- In less than a decade of competing on the world stage, Biles has earned thirty Olympic and World Championship medals. She is considered of the greatest gymnasts of all time. Biles withdrew from competition during to stress affecting her mental health.
- Kirk, on the other hand, heads a racist anti-immigration organization, Turning Point USA, and only landed in that position because of his friendship with a wealthy older man, Bill Montgomery.