Former President Donald Trump on Monday backed Susan Wright to replace her late husband in a special election to represent a rapidly diversifying Texas congressional district.
“Susan Wright will be a terrific Congresswoman (TX-06) for the Great State of Texas,” Trump said in a statement. “She is the wife of the late Congressman Ron Wright, who has always been supportive of our America First Policies.”
The former president’s support for Wright in the race for Texas’ 6th District, which includes a large swath of the region southwest of Dallas and the city of Arlington, comes as she finds herself with a commanding lead in a field of 23 candidates, including 11 Republicans, according to internal polling from both parties.
Wright, who has spent decades serving in public roles in Tarrant County, will face the nearly two dozen candidates in a May 1 all-party primary, where a candidate must clear 50 percent of the vote or the race will advance to a runoff between the top two.
Trump’s endorsement of Wright, who lost her husband after he contracted Covid, will likely be a blow to candidates who have attempted to position themselves as the MAGA faithful, including former senior Trump health official Brian Harrison and Dan Rodimer, a former pro wrestler who was backed by Trump in 2020 for a House seat in Nevada.
The contest will also offer a first look at how suburban voters behave in the post-Trump era and could be the first bellwether in how anti-Trump Republicans fare at the ballot box. Michael Wood, a combat veteran and small business owner, has positioned himself as a Trump antagonist, finding allies in GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Liz Cheney (Wyo.), who both voted to impeach Trump.
The once reliably red district has trended purple in the Trump years. In 2012, Mitt Romney carried the seat by 17 points. Trump, who won the district by 12 points the first time, saw his margin drop to just 3 points in 2020, compared to Ron Wright’s reelection that year by 9 points.