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Texas State Rep. Jake Ellzey wins U.S. House runoff, defeats Trump-backed Susan Wright

Ellzey will replace the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, who died from COVID-19 in February

TexasARLINGTON, Texas (CFP) — State Rep. Jake Ellzey claimed Texas’s 6th U.S. House District seat in Tuesday’s all-Republican runoff, defeating Susan Wright, who was trying to keep the seat of her late husband, U.S. Rep. Ron Wright.

ellzey

U.S. Rep.-elect Jake Ellzey, R-Texas

The result was a blow to former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Wright and publicly supported her candidacy in the final stretch. His super PAC also dropped $100,000 in a last minute advertising buy.

Ellzey took 53% in the runoff to 47% for Wright to win a district that includes Arlington and parts of Tarrant County, along with Ellis and Navarro counties to the south.

The all-party special election was called after Ron Wright’s death from COVID-19, while undergoing cancer treatment in February.

In the first round of voting in May, Wright and Ellzey claimed both spots in the runoff. Democrats were boxed out when the party’s 2018 nominee for the seat, Jana Lynne Sanchez, came in third, just 350 votes behind Ellzey.

Democrats had hopes of flipping the seat in suburban Dallas-Fort Worth, which Trump carried by just 3 points in 2020. But two other Democrats in the race took 10,000 votes from Sanchez, securing the seat for the GOP.

Tuesday’s runoff was something of a rematch from the 2018 election for the post, when Ron Wright defeated Ellzey to win an open seat.

The district’s previous long-time congressman, Joe Barton, endorsed Ellzey, as did Governor Greg Abbott and former Governor Rick Perry. But Trump went all in for Wright.

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Murder plot? Secret recording roils Florida U.S. House race

District 13 candidate William Braddock reportedly brags about having access to a “hit squad” to make rival Anna Paulina Luna “disappear”

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

FloridaST. PETERSBURG (CFP) — Florida Republican congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna’s claim that her political rivals were plotting to murder her raised skeptical eyebrows when she made the charge in a court application asking for stalking protection.

“I really think that she’s exhibiting behavior that I would say is concerning,” said one. “This woman is off her rocker,” said another.

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Florida GOP congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna

But then, Politico obtained a recording in which a man identified as her political rival, William Braddock, is heard bragging that he has access to a “hit squad” of “Ukrainians and Russians” prepared to make Luna “disappear” if she closes in on the Republican nomination in the 13th U.S. House District in Pinellas County.

“I really don’t want to have to end anybody’s life for the good of the people of the United States of America,” says the man identified as Braddock in the secretly recorded telephone conversation. “That will break my heart. But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done.”

“Luna is a f—ing speed bump in the road,” the man identified as Braddock says. “She’s a dead squirrel you run over every day when you leave the neighborhood.”

When contacted by Politico, Braddock declined to say whether the voice on the recording, made June 9 by conservative activist Erin Olszewski, is him or whether he threatened to kill Luna. But he said, “This is a dirty political tactic that has caused a lot of people a lot of stress and is completely unnecessary.”

Florida’s 13th District seat, which Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is vacating to run for governor, is perhaps the GOP’s best pick-up opportunity next year in the Sunshine State. It is perhaps not helpful, then, that the two Republican candidates currently in the race — Luna and Braddock — are now involved in a police investigation over a possible murder plot.

A hearing has been scheduled for June 22 on whether to extend the injunction Luna got that bars Braddock from both her speaking events and Conservative Grounds, a coffee shop in Largo frequented by Pinellas conservatives.

After losing to Crist in November in the swing district, Luna, 32, a businesswoman and Air Force veteran, decided to make another run, encouraged by the prospect that Florida’s GOP-led legislature may make the district more Republican during redistricting.

Braddock, 37, a St. Petersburg attorney and former Marine, entered the race last week after Luna’s allegations became public.

Olszewski said that in her phone call with Braddock, he tried to dissuade her from supporting Luna in next year’s GOP primary; she recorded the call and turned it over to St. Petersburg police because she said she was concerned about Braddock’s “unhinged” dislike of Luna.

However, in Florida, secretly recording a phone call without the other person’s knowledge is a felony, and Braddock told Politico that he would seek civil damages and criminal charges against “folks in possession of whatever recording they think they have of myself or someone else.”

In her request for protection, Luna also said that Braddock claimed he was “working together” with two other Pinellas Republicans — Amanda Makki, whom Luna defeated in the 13th District GOP primary in 2020, and Matt Tito, a conservative political commentator who lost a Florida House race last year.

Both Makki and Tito have denied having any role in a plot against Luna (Makki is the person who called Luna’s behavior “concerning”), and Tito has said he’s talked to a lawyer about pursuing a defamation claim.

Tito told the Tampa Bay Times that although he knows Braddock and Makki, he has infrequent contact with both.

“[Luna’s] goal was to embarrass us, it was to get us to keep us out of the race, to intimidate us,” he told the Times.

In the meantime, the four Democratis in the race — State Reps. Ben Diamond and Michele Rayner, Christian Hotchkiss and Eric Lynn continue their campaign, without any mention of political assassination or Russian and Ukrainian hit squads.

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All-Republican runoff set for vacant Texas U.S. House seat

Susan Wright, widow of late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, will face State. Rep. Jake Ellzey

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

ARLINGTON, Texas (CFP) — Susan Wright, the widow of the late Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, claimed first place Saturday in a special election to fill his Texas’s 6th U.S. House District seat and will now face fellow Republican State Rep. Jake Ellzey in a runoff.

Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez finished just 354 votes behind Ellzey, narrowly missing a chance to set up her party to flip a suburban district in metro Dallas-Fort Worth that Donald Trump carried by just 3 points in November.

Michael Wood — a businessman and former Marine Corps officer who ran openly in the race as an anti-Trump Republican and charged that the GOP has devolved into a “cult of personality” — finished ninth in the 23-person field, showing the limits of that strategy in pro-Trump Texas.

Susan Wright and Jake Ellzey

In a low-turnout Saturday special election with a crowded field, Wright came in first with 15,052 votes (19%), with Ellzey coming in second with 10,851 (14%) and Sanchez in third with 10,497 (13%).

The final day of the contest was rocked by a robocall made in the district accusing Wright of murdering her husband, who died in February from COVID-19 while being treated for cancer. Her campaign contacted the FBI to investigate.

The runoff will be something of a rematch of the Republican runoff for the seat in 2018, when Ron Wright defeated Ellzey to represent the district, which includes Arlington and parts of Tarrant County, along with Ellis and Navarro counties to the south.

Susan Wright has been endorsed by Donald Trump. Ellzey has the support of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who will set the date for the runoff.

Sanchez had been the Democratic nominee against Ron Wright in 2018, a race chronicled in the Showtime documentary “Surge.” But this time around, she was unable to coalesce enough of the Democratic vote to win a spot in the all-party contest, with the second and third-place Democrats in the field — Shawn Lassiter and Lydia Bean — winning nearly 10,000 votes between them.

The race — the second special election for a Republican-held seat since Trump’s loss in November — drew national attention due to a number of colorful candidates who entered the wide-open contest.

Dan Rodimer, a former professional wrestler who was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for a House seat in the Las Vegas area in 2020, parachuted into Texas to try again, airing an ad in which he carried an assault rifle and vowed to “strip power” from President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — a stance that raised eyebrows in the wake of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

He finished in 11th place.

Sery Kim, a Korean-American who served in the Small Business Administration under Trump, drew criticism when she said during a forum that she did not want Chinese immigrants in the United States “at all” and blamed them for bringing  COVID-19 into the United States.

She won just 888 votes and finished 16th.

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Democratic State Senator Troy Carter wins open Louisiana U.S. House seat

Carter defeats fellow State Senator Karen Carter-Peterson in 2nd District runoff

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

NEW ORLEANS (CFP) — The Democratic establishment has claimed another victory in its ongoing battle with progressive insurgents, with Louisiana State Senator Troy Carter winning an intra-party runoff Saturday to claim the 2nd U.S. House District seat.

U.S. Rep.-elect Troy Carter, D-Louisiana

Carter won 55 percent of the vote to 45 percent for State Senator Karen Carter-Peterson. He  will replace Cedric Richmond, who resigned to take a job as the White House public engagement director in the Biden administration.

“We’ve had a long, hard-fought campaign, and God has blessed us with a victory,” Carter said in a victory address to supporters after the vote. “Your voice was heard at the ballot box, and now I want to go to Washington to be your voice.”

Carter, who led in the first round of voting in April, was endorsed by Richmond and also had support from much of the Democratic establishment and major unions.

Carter-Peterson had support from the Congressional Progressive Caucus and from liberal grassroots group such as Democracy for America and Our Revolution, a group spun out of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Carter-Peterson was trying to become the first black woman ever elected to Congress from the Pelican State.

The majority black 2nd District includes most of New Orleans and part of Baton Rouge, along with the River Parishes between the two cities.

Carter-Peterson carried the parts of the district in and around Baton Rouge, but Carter beat her in the two largest parishes, Orleans and Jefferson.

His win will expand the Democratic majority in the House from two to three seats, with three Democratic-leaning seats also vacant in Florida, New Mexico and Ohio. Two Republican-held seats are open in Texas and Ohio.

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Runoff Saturday for open Louisiana U.S. House seat

Democratic State Senators Troy Carter and Karen Carter-Peterson vying in 2nd District race

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

NEW ORLEANS (CFP) — Voters in Louisiana’s 2nd U.S. House District will go to the polls Saturday to decide which of two Democratic state senators from New Orleans will be their next representative in Congress.

State Senators Troy Carter and Karen Carter-Peterson are competing in a runoff to replace Cedric Richmond, who resigned to take a job as the White House public engagement director in the Biden administration.

Polls for in-person voting open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Saturday.

State Senators Troy Carter and Karen Carter-Peterson

Carter, who has support from much of the Democratic establishment and major unions, led in the first round of voting in April, ahead of Carter-Peterson, who has support from the Congressional Progressive Caucus and from liberal grassroots group such as Democracy for America and Our Revolution, a group spun out of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Should she prevail on Saturday, Carter-Peterson would be the first black woman ever elected to Congress from the Pelican State.

The majority black 2nd District includes most of New Orleans and part of Baton Rouge, along with the River Parishes between the two cities.

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