Susan Wright, the widow of the Republican congressman whose death sparked a special election in Texas on Saturday, made the runoff after reporting to law enforcement a bizarre robot accused of killing her husband by signing a contract with Covid-19.
Elections in the Sixth Congressional District on Saturday drew 23 candidates and were seen as a key test of the Republican Party, firmly under Donald Trump, and of democratic hopes for a breakthrough in Texas.
Republican Jake Elsie and Democrat Jeanne Lynn Sanchez competed for second place and a place in the runoff.
Ellzey, a state representative and veteran of the Navy, garnered 13.8 percent of the vote, according to the Texas secretary of state. Only 354 votes and less than half a percentage point separated him from Sanchez, a journalist and communications professional running for the post in 2018, by 13.4%.
“The Democrats have come a long way in the race in Texas,” Sanchez wrote on Twitter. “But tonight shows we still have a long way to go.”
The area in the northern part of the state, near Dallas and Fort Worth, is a Republican fortress, which nevertheless tends towards the Democrats. Trump won it in the 2020 presidential election, but only by three points after winning 12 in 2016, leading to five points after Mitt Romney’s victory four years earlier.
In Utah on Saturday, Romney, the only Republican senator who voted to be convicted in both of Trump’s impeachment trials, was booed and called a “traitor” when he spoke at a state convention.
NBC News reported that the vote was divided into about 60% for Republicans and 40% for Democrats. Mark Jones, a professor of political science at Rice University, told Reuters: “The Democrats did not bring their people there and then to the extent that they did … they split many of the Democratic votes.”
Democrats have a narrow majority in the US House of Representatives. The race in Texas will fill the vacancy when Congressman Ron Wright died in February after signing a contract with Covid-19. Trump supported his wife this week.
The day before the election, Politico announced that Susan Wright was seeking help from local and federal law enforcement after voters received a robocal that said she had “killed her husband” and “ran for Congress to cover it up.”
The robot claims that Wright “received a $ 1 million insurance policy for her husband’s life … six months before his death” and “tearfully confided in a nurse that she had deliberately contracted the coronavirus.”
The call in a female voice does not contain a description of who paid for it.
“It’s illegal, immoral and wrong,” Wright said. “There is no sewer that is not too deep for some politicians to drain.”
Matt Langston, Wright’s aide, said: “Susan’s opponents are desperate and resort to a disgusting sewer policy.”
Other Republican candidates condemned the call.
Ahead of election day, Wood told CNN he ran because he was worried about Trump’s influence and “someone has to stand up and say that’s not what the Republican Party should be.”
He also said he “feared for the country’s future” given the spread of faith in Trump’s lie that the election had been stolen – 70% of Republicans in a CNN poll this week said they believed Joe Biden has not won enough legitimate votes to win the White House – and conspiracy theories like QAnon.