In the final days of a congressional runoff between two North Texas Republicans, just-released internal polling shows candidate Susan Wright maintaining a double-digit lead over her opponent.
Wright and State Rep. Jake Ellzey (Waxahachie) are competing in a special election runoff for the congressional seat left by Wright’s late husband, U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, who passed away in February just weeks into his second term.
Polling conducted this week during the first days of early voting shows Wright leading Ellzey 44-34 percent among likely runoff voters who also participated in the May special election.
Similar polling in June showed Wright ahead of Ellzey 49-34 percent.
The winner of the July 27 runoff will serve the remainder of Ron Wright’s unexpired term representing Texas’ 6th Congressional District, which includes parts of Fort Worth and Arlington in Tarrant County, as well as all of Ellis and Navarro counties.
Susan Wright is a longtime Republican activist in Tarrant County. Ellzey is a first-term state representative from Ellis County who finished second to Ron Wright in the 2018 GOP primary for the CD 6 seat.
Republican voters favor Wright 53-32 percent.
Democrats prefer Ellzey 44-31 percent. But Democrats make up a smaller portion of voters in the district and, according to the poll, are much less enthusiastic about voting in the runoff between two Republicans.
Wright racked up the lion’s share of endorsements from conservative grassroots activists and Republican politicians, including former President Donald Trump. This week, Trump repeated his support for Wright.
The survey results found “Trump Movement Republicans” favor Wright 61-28 percent, “underscoring the importance of his endorsement.”
But Trump’s support of Wright may help Ellzey win Democrat votes, which he needs in order to have a chance at winning the runoff.
In May, a Democrat blog said Democrat voters in CD 6 had to “drink the poison” and vote for Ellzey in order to defeat Wright, adding a win for Wright “would be a win for Trump.”
It’s unclear how Ellzey’s record in the Texas Legislature will impact his support from voters in either party.
He was ranked 49th out of 82 members on political analyst Mark P. Jones’ scale of most to least conservative Texas House Republicans, and he earned a rating of 52 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index.
Ellzey is endorsed by former Gov. Rick Perry, but this week’s survey showed Wright leads 53-29 percent among voters with a favorable impression of Perry.
Turnout is likely to be low in the mid-summer special runoff.
Wright and Ellzey were the top two finishers in a May 1 special election—a jungle primary among 23 candidates from both parties. Wright finished first with 19 percent of the vote, while Ellzey received almost 14 percent, narrowly edging out a Democrat by about 350 votes.
Voter turnout then was 16 percent (78,417 voters).
Early voting in the special runoff is underway now through July 23. Election Day is Tuesday, July 27.