AUSTIN, Texas — Susan Wright, the Republican widow of a congressman who died of Covid-19, emerged on Saturday night because the front-runner in a decent race to interchange her husband in Washington.

Still, Ms. Wright, whose husband, Ron Wright, died in February, couldn’t keep away from a runoff for the state’s Sixth Congressional District, which incorporates principally rural areas in three Northern Texas counties and a sliver of the nation’s fourth-largest metropolitan area round Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington.

Ms. Wright, who was assisted by a last-minute endorsement from former President Donald J. Trump, captured about 19 % of the vote, far under the 50 % required to keep away from a runoff. It appeared she was headed to a different contest with Jake Ellzey, a fellow Republican. Jana Lynne Sanchez, a Democrat, adopted intently behind in third place.

The outcomes upset Democrats, who had hoped to faucet a reservoir of shifting demographics and Hispanic and African-American progress in a district the place Mr. Trump received by solely three proportion factors in November.

Ms. Sanchez, who ran a decent race towards Mr. Wright in 2018, held an election gathering at her house in Fort Worth and vowed to maintain combating for progressive values. The Sixth District was as soon as a Democratic stronghold, till Phil Gramm switched social gathering affiliations in 1983, turning the district right into a dependable bastion of Republican power for a long time.

In February, Mr. Wright, who had lung most cancers, died after he contracted the coronavirus. His spouse was an early front-runner to interchange him, however her possibilities of outright victory narrowed after the sphere grew to 23 candidates, together with 11 Republicans, 10 Democrats, a Libertarian and an unbiased.

The battle took a weird flip in the ultimate days when Ms. Wright’s backers reported receiving nameless robocalls that accused her of killing her husband. She instantly sought an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the native authorities.

Saturday’s outcomes signaled that Mr. Trump continued to have a maintain on the Republican Party in Texas months after shedding an election he falsely claimed had been stolen from him. Mr. Wright had been a vocal ally of Mr. Trump and a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

This is the second time that the widow of a member of Congress who died from Covid sought to maintain her husband’s seat. Last month, Julia Letlow, a Republican from Louisiana, prevented a runoff when she secured the seat of her late husband, Luke Letlow, who died earlier than having the possibility to characterize the district, which incorporates a lot of the central a part of the traditionally purple state.

In municipal races elsewhere in Texas, the mayor of San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, simply received a second time period. And voters in Austin overwhelmingly favored ending a ban on public tenting, a decisive victory for these searching for to maintain homeless individuals from erecting tents in sure spots throughout town. Homelessness is a contested difficulty in the state capital, with critics arguing that the referendum didn’t provide alternate options to individuals with no place to sleep.

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