Can Republicans in alliance beat Trump backed candidates in conservative states? Yes, as this result shows. Could they beat Trump? Jury is still out for 2024, but right now? No.
The former president is still in the driver’s seat. But he is not invulnerable if certain factors present themselves. This is a message for 2024. Haley, Cruz, and others will listen to this message and act accordingly.
FNC: “This wasn’t the outcome many political observers were expecting.
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Freshman Texas state Rep. Jake Ellzey won an all-Republican House special election runoff in the state’s 6th Congressional District, edging Susan Wright, the widow of the late Rep. Don Wright – whose COVID-19-related February death while suffering from cancer triggered the contest.
With both candidates in the low-turnout election supporting the same conservative principles and highlighting former President Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda, the final stages of the campaign partially focused on Trump’s endorsement of Wright, and the showdown was seen to a degree as referendum on Trump’s continued clout in the GOP, six months after his departure from the White House.
Trump remains extremely popular and influential with Republican voters as he continues to play a kingmaker role in GOP primary politics and flirts with a 2024 presidential run. But the 53%-47% victory by Ellzey, a Navy combat pilot veteran, ‘does raise questions about how strong Trump’s endorsement is,’ Austin, Texas-based political consultant Matt Mackowiak told Fox News.
While Wright showcased Trump’s endorsement, Ellzey enjoyed the backing of a number of high-profile Texas Republicans – including former longtime Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a fellow combat veteran, and former Rep. Joe Barton, who represented the district for nearly three decades before not seeking reelection in 2018.”
Shelby and I are incredibly grateful to every person who backed us with their endorsement, their volunteer hours, and their votes. We are excited to serve you in Congress and you have my word that I will always put the best interests and Texas values of CD 6 residents first. pic.twitter.com/BiaHl3JjLx
— Jake Ellzey (@JakeEllzey) July 28, 2021
Trump, sent out this robocall in support of Wright. “Hello, this is your hopefully all-time favorite president, Donald Trump. I’m asking you to go out and vote for a great Republican, a great woman, Susan Wright. Big election tomorrow in the Great State of Texas! Susan Wright supports America First policies, our Military and our Veterans, is strong on Borders, tough on Crime, Pro-Life, and will always protect our Second Amendment. Susan has my Complete and Total Endorsement.” That’s putting your credibility on the line. Gutsy move. However, failed move. Which means there is some Trump blood in the water. Not much. But political sharks can smell it from way off.
Wright and her advocates tried negative advertising against Ellzey at the end of the campaign. But Mackowiak opined that tactic may have boomeranged, saying that “negative attacks in special elections don’t work because turnout’s low. So all you’re doing really is convincing people who weren’t going to vote anyway to not vote for one person. You’ve got to build up the person who you’re backing to try to juice up turnout.” Yup, wrong play. It cost them and by association cost Trump. Not much. Yet.