When Republican voters from Amarillo to Wichita Falls go to the ballot box this July, they’ll choose between two congressional candidates to be their nominee in November, down from the 15 choices they had in the March primary.
What was once a crowded GOP primary race has been reduced to two runoff candidates: former lobbyist and bureaucrat Josh Winegarner and President Donald Trump-endorsed former Navy Admiral and White House physician Ronny Jackson.
A former Congressional staffer and government relations director for the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Winegarner’s ties to the Washington swamp also netted him an endorsement from three soon–to–be–former Texas congressmen. The first to endorse him was Midland Republican Mike Conaway, who highlighted Winegarner’s experience as a lobbyist, calling him an “extremely effective advocate.” Then the retiring incumbent of the 13th Congressional District, Mac Thornberry, endorsed him as well.
Joining them is Congressman Will Hurd, an individual best known for being Texas’ most liberal Republican lawmaker in D.C. and Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s travel buddy.
Hurd’s campaign donated $2,000 to Winegarner’s campaign during the primary. Following the beginning of the runoff election, his super PAC, Future Leaders Fund, announced a series of attack ads against Winegarner’s opponent.
In a statement to Texas Scorecard following that revelation, Jackson said voters should reject Hurd’s attempt to influence the July 14 election in District 13.
“This is the most conservative congressional district in the country, and the voters in Texas’ 13th Congressional District deserve a congressman that isn’t beholden to people like RINO, Never-Trump ‘Republican’ Will Hurd, who called President Trump a racist xenophobe,” Jackson said.
Last month, the Young Conservatives of Texas announced their support of Jackson in the runoff election after initially backing Chris Ekstrom in the primary.
“Dr. Ronny Jackson has dedicated his life to public service, proudly serving our nation in the Navy,” said YCT Executive Director Manfred Wendt. “Having interviewed Dr. Jackson, we know that he is a rock-solid conservative who will fight for the values of all West Texans. He is a self-made man and is not beholden to any special interests, who seek to represent their interests over the interests of the people of the district.”
A native of Levelland, Jackson only recently returned to the district after concluding his military career. Since launching his campaign, he’s focused on term limits and returning drug manufacturing from China to the United States.
“We [in West Texas] are perfectly positioned to lead the fight on bringing pharmaceuticals back to the United States, and specifically back to Texas and the Panhandle area. I’m putting a plan together to do that,” said Jackson in an interview with KFYO’s Chad Hasty.
Winegarner and Jackson will face off in the July 14 GOP primary runoff election.
The winner of the runoff will then advance to the general election, where they can expect to face former congressional intern Democrat Gus Trujillo and Libertarian Jack B. Westbrook. However, it is expected that whoever wins the GOP primary runoff will win the November election handily.
Texas’ 13th Congressional District is a solidly Republican district, encompassing most of the Texas Panhandle and areas east along the Red River. The district includes Archer, Armstrong, Baylor, Briscoe, Carson, Childress, Clay, Collingsworth, Cooke, Cottle, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Foard, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Jack, King, Knox, Lipscomb, Montague, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, Wheeler, Wichita, and Wilbarger counties. Parts of Floyd and Wise counties also are included in the district.