State Representative Jake Ellzey is defending himself against what he describes as lies about him from a Washington-based Conservative Political Action Committee ahead of Election Day for a Congressional run-off from the north Texas.
The Club for Growth, which describes itself as a “free enterprise advocacy group,” has featured prominently in the North Texas race as Republicans Ellzey and Susan Wright, widow of the late Ron Wright, argue headquarters. Ron Wright died in February, prompting the special election and the run-off that followed on Tuesday. Early voting began Monday and ends Friday.
The fundraising arm of the Club for Growth endorsed Wright for the 6th Congressional District of Texas and, according to Politico, spent $ 230,000 on TV ads in the months following the May 1 special election when Wright and Ellzey went from a field of 23. The group also ran a number of letters targeting Ellzey and encouraging voters in the district to support Wright for Congress.
The Club for Growth, which was also involved in the race before the primary, did not respond to requests for comment.
“They are willing to do anything and stick around to win because they have no moral compass,” Ellzey told The Star-Telegram.
The organization has been involved in other Texas races in the past, such as the 2020 Republican primary in the 13th Congressional District of Texas, when the group’s PAC backed U.S. Representative Ronny Jackson. The group supported American Ted Cruz for the presidency in 2016.
Second-round letters, obtained by the Star-Telegram through a spokesperson for Ellzey, claim that Ellzey voted for a tax hike, missed legislative votes and identifies the Republican as the choice supported by the Democrats. They also tout the endorsement of Wright by former President Donald Trump.
“The Democrats are trying to steal the second round of the Republican election by trying to elect Jake Ellzey,” read a letter calling Ellzey “a puppet for the Democrats in Washington”.
The group says on some mailings that Ellzey has been approved by Democrats. They name Stephen Daniel, a Democrat who ran for the seat in 2020 against Ron Wright.
Daniel wrote on Twitter after the special election that he would support Ellzey because Republicans were his only choice. In an interview with the Star-Telegram at the time, he pointed out that the voting statement was not an endorsement.
“(Democrats) can be the deciding factor in this election and we need to do everything we can to make sure that Trump-endorsed Susan Wright loses,” Daniel said in the tweet.
Ellzey, who was a Navy fighter pilot, said people can say whatever they want on the internet.
“I have nothing to do with Stephen Daniel,” he said. ” I have never met him. I never spoke to him.
Ellzey’s team also took issue with a mysterious text message calling on the Liberals to “unite behind Democrat Stephen Daniel by voting for moderate Jake Ellzey against Trump-backed conservative Susan Wright!” The messages do not contain a disclaimer as to their sender, Ellzey spokesperson Craig Murphy said.
Some shippers note that Ellzey missed more than 100 votes while sitting in the Texas House of Representatives. One of them describes him as a “missing politician”. Ellzey took issue with the claim, saying he missed 52 votes and had a voting record of 97%.
The group also criticizes Ellzey for allegedly voting on an increase in motor vehicle taxes, pointing to Bill 2415. The bill, which was passed in the House but had no success in the Senate, would have imposed taxes on rentals made through market rental providers, ”according to a summary of the House Research Office bill. It defines a marketplace rental provider as a person who rents their car to others for use, such as through a website or an app.
The bill’s author, Republican Republican Representative for Dallas, Morgan Meyer, told the committee that it “closed another loophole in the motor vehicle rental tax by making it clear that people who operate a rental market of motor vehicles must collect and remit the tax “. He said that “this tax is already due on all car rental transactions”.
Ellzey joined 95 lawmakers – Democrats and Republicans – in supporting the bill when it was first passed. Fifty lawmakers, including six Democrats, opposed it. Ellzey was absent for the final pass vote. In a text, he said third reading votes came quickly, but he was present that day and voted on the bills before and after.
“It closed a loophole in collecting taxes on rental cars,” Ellzey said. “Someone is going to have to explain to me how this amounts to a new tax or an increase in taxes. This is not the case. By definition, this is not the case.
What did Susan Wright say?
Wright, who served as a district manager for two state officials, has not distanced herself from the Club for Growth. Asked in general about the organization’s support for her candidacy, including contributions to her run and negative publicity about Ellzey, Wright said she was proud to have their support.
“I am absolutely honored that President Donald Trump, the Club for Growth, many locally elected officials, dozens of precinct presidents and hundreds of grassroots conservatives have united the vast majority of the Republican Party behind my campaign: they know that I am the true Conservative candidate and best qualified to represent TX-06 in Congress, ”Wright said in a statement.
Before the second round, Wright’s campaign sent out an immigration letter, according to the Texas Tribune. The courier says Ellzey is in favor of “amnesty for illegal immigrants”, citing a 2018 interview on “The Mark Davis Show”. Ellzey was on the radio show as a candidate for Congressional District 6 after also running for the seat in 2018.
At the time, Ellzey said he supported a path to “citizenship if you serve in the military for five years.” According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, military personnel who have served for one year in peacetime may be eligible to apply for naturalization.
“Anyone can apply for permanent residence, but no amnesty,” he said.
Ellzey and campaign surrogates like U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw and former Texas Governor Rick Perry have come to Ellzey’s defense, including in a recent video where Crenshaw seeks to debunk what he described as a ” dishonest campaign “.
“There is nothing wrong that the 2020 Democratic candidate for this seat, Stephen Daniel, has tweeted his endorsement of my opponent,” Wright said in a statement. “There is nothing wrong with my opponent, who missed over 100 votes, voted for a new motor vehicle tax. There is nothing wrong with my opponent supporting a “path to citizenship.” These positions and votes are all facts: they are official public documents – and that’s why true conservatives like President Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz have all backed my campaign.
Former US Representative Joe Barton speaks
Joe Barton, who was in the seat before Ron Wright, backed Ellzey in an interview Monday on “The Mark Davis Show.” Ron Wright was previously his chief of staff and district director.
Barton said there were “two good Republicans” in the second round.
“I know them both very well,” he said. “They are both good people. They would both be good members of Congress. There wouldn’t be much difference in their voting record, but I think basically you have to choose who would be the best candidate and who will represent the best and have the best chance of being an impact player. I think it’s Jake.
Barton told Davis there was an “unusual problem” in the race in that “Club for Growth has just had a terribly negative attack campaign against Jake.”
Davis praised the Club For Growth on the show – “I’ve always loved them,” he said – but criticized them for running “disgusting and deceptive” ads in the race.
“It’s the biggest disappointment to me in this race that Susan has allowed this and the Club for Growth to do what they did,” said Barton.
Wright’s general consultant Matt Langston hinted at the scandal surrounding Barton’s exit from Congress when asked to comment on the former representative’s remarks. Barton did not seek re-election after a nude photo of him was shared online. A woman also shared private messages with a sexual connotation.
“As for Joe Barton, I find it ironic that he uses the term ‘biggest disappointment’ after his shameful exit from Congress,” Langston said.