Wife of Texas Congressman who died of COVID-19 has won a place in the runoff for her late husband’s seat
- Texas Republican Rep. Ron Wright became the first member of Congress to die of COVID-19 in February 2021
- Wright died aged 67 after battling lung cancer and had been hospitalized in September 2020 for complications with the disease
- His widow Susan was endorsed by Donald Trump and leads a crowded field of 23 candidates with votes still being counted
- She will go through to a runoff for the seat. A date has not yet been set
Republican Susan Wright of Texas, the widow of the first member of Congress to die after contracting COVID-19, secured a place in a US House runoff for her late husband’s seat Saturday night.
With votes still being counted, Wright was ahead with more than 18% of the vote in Texas’ 6th Congressional District.
Close behind were Republican Jake Ellzey and Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez for the other runoff spot.
Wright, a GOP activist, moved on with the backing of President Donald Trump, who waited until this week to formally make an endorsement in a crowded field of 23 candidates.
Susan Wright’s late husband, Rep. Ron Wright, died in February after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He was 67 and had also been battling lung cancer.
Susan Wright, center, on the campaign trail in April for the US Congressional House seat left vacant by her husband Ron, who died of COVID in February
Susan Wright was by her husband’s side as he was sworn in on January 4, 2021, by Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy
Ron Wright, who died from COVID in February, had a ‘tremendous work ethic’ and ‘commitment to conservative values’
The date of the runoff has not yet been announced.
The North Texas district includes the booming corridor between Dallas and Fort Worth, and it has long been safe Republican territory.
But Trump also saw his support there plummet in last year’s election, carrying the district by just three points — a sharp fall from his double-digit advantage there in 2016.
Ten Democrats in the running had hoped that was a sign of an opening in the special election.
But the race drew little investment from Democrats nationally after their massive expectations for Texas in 2020 foundered.
Ron Wright was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2018, filling the seat of retiring Rep. Joe Barton, and ran for re-election in 2020 despite his cancer diagnosis.
Upon his death, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle paid tribute to his ‘tremendous work ethic and his commitment to conservative values’.
President Joe Biden also put out a statement praising Ron Wright.
‘He was also a fighter who battled bravely against both cancer and COVID-19, diseases that our nation will continue working tirelessly every day to defeat in the memory of all those we have lost,’ the statement said.
The Wrights had three children and nine grandchildren.