SAN DIEGO – When the Alsidnawis sit down to breakfast, more important than any dish on the table are the screens that join them. Sometimes from a laptop and sometimes from family members' phones, the faces of 27-year-old Ahmad Alsidnawi, the family's only son, and 32-year-old Sami Labbad, the oldest daughter's husband, hover over the food. The two have been stuck overseas, waiting for years to reunite with their loved ones in El Cajon, California, a process complicated by the Trump administration's 2017 travel ban restricted visa processing for Syrians. Between fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2019, the...
With 93% of precincts reporting, Decision Desk HQ called the race for Ellzey late Tuesday, when he had 52.92% of votes to 47.08% for Wright, a longtime GOP activist.
Ellzey declared victory in a speech shortly after 9 p.m., addressing supporters in Ennis.
"One of the things that we've seen from this campaign is a positive outlook — a Reagan Republican outlook for the future of our country — is what the people of the 6th District really, really want," Ellzey said.
Susan Wright congratulated Ellzey in a tweet later Tuesday night.
The special election runoff was to finish Ron Wright's term in the 6th Congressional District, a Republican-leaning district in North Texas. Ron Wright died earlier this year after contracting COVID-19.
Susan Wright and Ellzey came out on top of a May 1 special election that featured 21 other candidates. She finished first with 19% of the vote, while Ellzey got 14%.
Trump endorsed Susan Wright in the final days before the May 1 election. He got more involved in the runoff, issuing three statements reiterating his endorsement, starring in a robocall for her and headlining a telephone rally for her on Monday night.
Ellzey relied on support from former Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Houston, a fellow Navy veteran who came off the sidelines in the runoff. Perry and other Ellzey allies suggested Trump had been misled into endorsing Susan Wright.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who had stayed out of the race, issued a statement congratulating Ellzey on his "hard-fought victory."
National attention on the race dimmed after Democrats narrowly missed the runoff, a disappointment for the party in a district that Trump won by only 3 percentage points last year. But Ellzey kept things competitive in the intraparty matchup, significantly outraising Susan Wright during the latest campaign finance reporting period and rallying his supporters against a barrage of attacks from the pro-Wright Club for Growth.
The Club for Growth said Tuesday morning that it had poured $1.2 million into the runoff, easily making it the top outside spender in the overtime round. In its advertising, the national group emphasized Trump's endorsement of Susan Wright and hammered Ellzey over his attendance record in the Texas House and accused him of voting for a tax hike there, which he denied.
Wright's campaign expressed confidence in the homestretch, though there was a late increase in outside spending on her behalf, including from a Trump-aligned super PAC. Ellzey's campaign, meanwhile, appeared to appeal to Democrats with last-minute texts that touted him as “pro-public education" and noted his opponent's Trump backing.
During the rally Monday night, Trump stressed that Susan Wright was the “only one" he had endorsed in the runoff and boasted about the Democratic lockout after the May 1 election.
“Susan, Ron is looking down on you," he said, “and he's very, very proud right now."
Ellzey's victory is the latest chapter in a complicated history between him and the Wrights. He first ran for the congressional seat in 2018, battling Ron Wright in a primary runoff and losing by a small margin. They appeared to bury the hatchet, though, when Ron Wright, after getting elected to Congress, gave Ellzey an early endorsement in his successful 2020 campaign for the state House. But things seemed to sour again when Ellzey did not give the late congressman's widow a pass and jumped into the special election to replace him within weeks of being sworn in to the Texas House.
Join us Sept. 20-25 at the 2021 Texas Tribune Festival. Tickets are on sale now for this multi-day celebration of big, bold ideas about politics, public policy and the day's news, curated by The Texas Tribune's award-winning journalists. Learn more.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/07/27/susan-wright-jake-ellzey-texas-6-congressional-seat/.
The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.
The country is failing to face the rage of Donald Trump's supporters -- and the result is mass death
The covid pandemic is surging among people who are not vaccinated thanks to the wildfire spread of the highly contagious delta variant.¹ Some of the unvaccinated are reachable, as Editorial Board member Magdi Semrau argued in her latest piece of brilliance. Many are not. These are supporters of the disgraced former president.
They are not vaccinated by choice. Vaccinations are free, widely available, highly recommended and they work. Yes, some vaccinated people are getting sick, but they are vanishingly small in number. Refusing to get vaccinated is like refusing to wear a seat belt with the most obvious difference being that the latter is not contagious.
We should hold dangerously immoral people to account for their dangerously immoral choices. We should celebrate dutifully moral people for their dutifully moral choices.
It seems to me we are forgetting that this is a choice grown men and women are making not only for themselves but for their loved ones and their communities. We seem to be forgetting that, or even overlooking that, as if they are not responsible for their own death and dying as well as the death and dying of the people around them.
I have seen some liberals express genuine sympathy in the wake of story after story of people dying after swearing up and down they'd never get the covid vaccine. Yes, there is something ultimately tragic about arrogant sonsabitches getting killed off by their own arrogance. But let's not permit our Shakespearean sensibilities get the better of us. These people are choosing irresponsibly. Even the dead should be held to account.
Blaming the dead is distasteful but morality demands we get over that. If we don't, we ourselves are acting irresponsibly. Yet the discomfort of looking a dangerously immoral person square in the face and saying they are making dangerously immoral choices is so painful even ER docs search for excuses, any excuse, that will get them out of the moral obligation of squaring off truthfully with a dangerously immoral person.
Last week, CNN interviewed Rob Davidson, an emergency room physician. Every single covid patient during the prior week was unvaccinated, he told Brianna Keilar. He didn't blame them, though. He blamed Fox News. "We are in a highly Republican area, about 40 percent vaccinated, about 70 percent voted for the former president," Davidson said. "When you see what's being put out there on the air waves … it is undeniable that these messages are getting through to patients. They are avoiding something that can prevent them from getting extremely sick and potentially dying."
Public information is critically important to the individual choices. But in blaming Fox for the dangerously immoral choices of dangerously immoral people, Davidson overvalued public information while undervaluing a plain fact. Normal people don't need good public information to trust doctors and medical professionals. We know this is true. It happens all the time. As Davidson said, if a patient comes to his ER with chest pains, they don't resist him when he orders an EKG. So they know better. Ditto when it comes to vaccines. They know what they should do. They are choosing not to.
The rest of us seem to fear saying so. We are behaving like some of the children of unvaccinated people. We are acting like we have to go behind their backs to get them to do the right thing on account of asking them to do the right thing risks arousing their rage. But in respecting that rage, we are making it the centerpiece of our politics such that our politics ends up venerating unvaccinated people instead of venerating the children who went behind their backs to get vaccinated. We should but don't hold dangerously immoral people to account for their dangerously immoral choices. We should but don't celebrate dutifully moral people for their dutifully moral choices.
The Republicans and some Fox talking heads have recently urged supporters of the disgraced former president to stop stalling and get vaccinated. I'm not the first to notice how diametric this was, after a long period during which the Republicans and some Fox talking heads did everything they could to demonize the vaccines to the point where getting vaccinated was tantamount to getting a beat-down. The reason for this about-face should be as plain as the coronavirus itself. The Republicans and some Fox talking heads are partly responsible for the fact that the pandemic isn't over yet.
It could be over, but let's not give unvaccinated people a pass. While some "vaccine hesitant" people really can be reached, as Magdi Semrau has explained, diehard supporters of the disgraced former president would rather die hard than admit defeat (i.e., get vaccinated). We need to explain what they are doing. We need to face their rage with courage. After that? Absent mandates, it's their choice. While there's something tragic about arrogant sonsabitches getting killed off by their own arrogance, I'm not sure I should feel sympathetic. How much sympathy do I have to the person who refused to wear a seat belt before dying in a car wreck? Not much.
1. The Centers for Disease Control announced this morning its recommendation that vaccinated people once again wear masks when they are inside public spaces.
Earlier this month, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made the entirely sensible decision that the select committee to investigate the insurrection of January 6 should not include pro-insurrectionists. So she declined two nominations made by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., of Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, two Republicans who did not even bother to hide the fact that they planned to sabotage the important work of the committee. McCarthy, who has for months resisted this effort to investigate the attack that targeted members of Congress, including himself, responded by feigning outrage that Pelosi was denying him his god-given right to make a mockery of the committee and pulled all of his nominees.
McCarthy's tantrum initially worked. Pelosi's "no assclowns" rule, reasonable to any person whose basic sense of decency hasn't been hobbled by years of hack punditry, actually angered a number of people in the press. Most notable among them was the famously well-heeled hack of the Beltway press Chris Cilizza of CNN, who wrote a smarmy piece headlined "Nancy Pelosi just doomed the already tiny chances of the 1/6 committee actually mattering." Never mind, of course, that it was McCarthy who was playing games. Republicans are never treated by the Cilizzas of political punditry as having autonomy, responsibility, or culpability for their actions. Cilizza's terminal case of "bipartisan brain" convinced him that what an investigation into a very real and violent attempted coup needs is a bunch of saboteurs running the show.
Want more Amanda Marcotte on politics? Subscribe to her newsletter Standing Room Only.
On Tuesday, we had the first hearing of what will hopefully be many into the events of January 6. Four police officers, two from the Capitol Police and two from the D.C. Metropolitan police, offered bracing and frequently heart-breaking testimony about what it was like to spend hours fighting both for their lives and to keep members of Congress safe from the rampaging mob intent on overthrowing democracy.
"I was electrocuted again and again and again with a Taser," D.C. police officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury from the attack, testified. "I'm sure I was screaming, but I don't think I could even hear my own voice."
Capitol police officer Harry Dunn spoke movingly about the racist abuse he received from the rioters, who called him the N-word repeatedly. He testified about sobbing after the attack and asking, "Is this America?"
Needless to say, the day proved Pelosi's critics wrong.
The proceedings did not, in fact, lack gravitas due to the lack of a coatless Rep. Jordan rolling up his sleeves and screaming incomprehensible conspiracy theories about "antifa" at the officers. The day would have not have been improved by having McCarthy's other saboteurs insult the officers or imply that they were lying under oath. No one's life was negatively affected by denying Republicans an opportunity to retraumatize these four men, who were incredibly brave to step forward, despite the ongoing threats from the followers of the fascist orange gaslighter the GOP is still in the thrall of.
The notion that the committee is not bipartisan, of course, is a joke. There are two Republicans on the committee — Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — who were chosen because they met the baseline requirement of believing fascist insurrections are very bad. The idea that these two don't "count" is inseparable from believing that to be a Republican necessarily means supporting Trump and his insurrection. And neither of them, who are both incredibly conservative despite their anti-insurrection views, are conceding that as of yet.
Want more Amanda Marcotte on politics? Subscribe to her newsletter Standing Room Only.
But ultimately, it doesn't matter how "bipartisan" the committee is. As Tuesday's hearing showed, the facts are sturdy enough to stand up even under the relentless partisanship of Republicans who would rather support a seditious ex-president than admit that Democrats are right about something. The videos showing the violence, the righteous anger of the officers who are sick of being told they didn't experience what they clearly went through, and the raw emotions as these men spoke of the terrors of that day: It all speaks for itself.
That people who continue to support Trump after January 6 should be ashamed of themselves is a given. But so should any journalist or pundit who thinks that "bipartisanship" matters more than the blunt facts of what happened on January 6 and who is responsible. (That would be Trump.) And it's clear that the committee does not need to cater to the Beltway media's fetish for bipartisanship to do its job. All the need to do is continue to uncover the ugly truth about the attack on our democracy.
Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.
$95 / year — Just $7.91/month
I want to Support More
$14.99 per month