Ron Wright (politician)

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Ron Wright
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 6th district
In office
January 3, 2019 – February 7, 2021
Preceded byJoe Barton
Succeeded byJake Ellzey
Personal details
Ronald Jack Wright

(1953-04-08)April 8, 1953
Jacksonville, Texas, U.S.
DiedFebruary 7, 2021(2021-02-07) (aged 67)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Cause of deathCOVID-19
Political partyRepublican
SpouseSusan Wright
EducationUniversity of Texas at Arlington

Ronald Jack Wright (April 8, 1953 – February 7, 2021) was an American politician who served as the U.S. representative for Texas's 6th congressional district from 2019 until his death from COVID-19 in 2021. He was a member of the Republican Party.

After serving on Arlington's city council and as tax assessor-collector for Tarrant County, Wright was elected to the House of Representatives in 2018 and reelected in 2020. Before his death from COVID-19 on February 7, 2021, Wright had been diagnosed with lung cancer in June 2019.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Ronald Jack Wright[2] was born on April 8, 1953, in Jacksonville, Texas, the son of Peggy Darlene (Powar) and George Willis Wright.[3][4] He grew up in Azle, Texas, graduating from Azle High School in 1971.[4][5] He then attended the University of Texas at Arlington for two years, studying history, psychology, and political science.[5][6]


Before entering politics Wright worked at Ceramic Cooling Tower, Inc. He wrote several op-eds for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in the 1990s, recommending public executions and display of corpses as a deterrent to crimes.[7]

Wright served on the Arlington City Council from 2000 to 2008 and as Mayor Pro-Tem of Arlington from 2004 to 2008.[8] He then served as district director for Congressman Joe Barton from 2000 to 2009. From 2009 to 2011, Wright was Barton's Chief of Staff.[9] Wright was appointed Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector in 2011, serving until 2018.[10][11]

In 2014, Wright's office added the motto "In God We Trust" to its stationery, including tax assessment envelopes and tax statements.[12][13]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



In 2018, Wright ran for the United States House of Representatives in Texas's 6th congressional district to succeed Barton, who had announced that he would not seek reelection after coming to national attention again when sexually explicit photos that he had shared with women surfaced online.[14][15][16][17] Wright finished in first place in the primary election, but did not achieve the 50% majority required to avoid a runoff. He faced Jake Ellzey in the runoff election,[18] and won with 52% of the vote.[19] In the general election, Wright defeated Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez.[20][21]


Wright was reelected in 2020, defeating attorney Stephen Daniel.[22] His death triggered a special election in 2021.


In June 2019, Reproaction, an abortion rights advocacy group, released a video that showed Wright stating women should "absolutely" be punished for performing self-managed abortions, as "they committed murder".[23]

In December 2020, Wright was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief[24] in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated[25] incumbent Donald Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state.[26][27] Wright later voted against certifying Arizona's and Pennsylvania's electoral votes in an effort to deny the final mechanism that would legally certify Biden's victory. Both votes occurred after the storming of the United States Capitol.[28]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Health issues and death[edit]

In July 2019, Wright announced he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.[32] The next year, a series of complications with his radiation treatment led to his hospitalization.[33]

On January 21, 2021, Wright announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.[34] After he and his wife were hospitalized in Dallas for two weeks, Wright died from the virus on February 7. As a result, he became the first sitting member of Congress to die from the disease.[35][36][37]

Lawmakers from both parties eulogized Wright after his death. Sanchez, his Democratic opponent in 2018, said that while she had her differences with Wright, "we both ran for Congress for the same reason: to fight for the people of North Texas. He served with passion while battling cancer and a deadly virus that has claimed far too many lives far too soon."[38]

Personal life[edit]

Wright with his wife Susan in 2018

Wright was married to Susan Wright, whom he met in June 2000 at the Texas GOP convention in Houston. She was a committeewoman for the Texas State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) for District 10.[39][40] On February 24, 2021, she announced her candidacy in the special election to fill her husband's congressional seat. She was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and placed first in the May 1, 2021, primary, but did not receive 50% of the vote. Consequently, under Texas law, she advanced to a runoff against the second-place finisher, Republican State Representative Jake Ellzey of Waxahachie. On June 27, 2021, she lost the runoff to Ellzey.[41][42] Wright was a Roman Catholic.[43]

Electoral history[edit]


Republican primary results, 2018[44]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ron Wright 20,659 45.1
Republican Jake Ellzey 9,956 21.7
Republican Ken Cope 3,527 7.7
Republican Shannon Dubberly 2,880 6.3
Republican Mark Mitchell 2,141 4.7
Republican Troy Ratterree 1,854 4.0
Republican Kevin Harrison 1,768 3.9
Republican Deborah Gagliardi 1,674 3.7
Republican Thomas Dillingham 543 1.2
Republican Shawn Dandridge 517 1.1
Republican Mel Hassell 266 0.6
Total votes 45,785 100.0
Republican primary runoff results, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ron Wright 12,747 52.2
Republican Jake Ellzey 11,686 47.8
Total votes 24,433 100
Texas's 6th congressional district, 2018[45]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ron Wright 135,961 53.1
Democratic Jana Lynne Sanchez 116,350 44.4
Libertarian Jason Harber 3,731 1.5
Total votes 256,042 100.0
Republican hold


Republican primary results, 2020[46]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ron Wright (incumbent) 55,759 100.0
Total votes 55,759 100.0
Texas's 6th congressional district, 2020[47]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ron Wright (incumbent) 179,507 52.8
Democratic Stephen Daniel 149,530 44.0
Libertarian Melanie Black 10,955 3.2
Total votes 339,992 100.0
Republican hold

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jeffers, Gromer Jr. (February 8, 2021). "Rep. Ron Wright dies after battle with COVID-19". Dallas News. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  2. ^ "Rep. Ron Wright". Legistorm. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  3. ^ "". FamilySearch.
  4. ^ a b Traub, Alex (February 9, 2021). "Ron Wright, Texas Conservative, Dies at 67". The New York Times. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "About". Representative Ron Wright. December 3, 2012. Archived from the original on February 17, 2021. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  6. ^ Vera, Ariana (October 24, 2016). "4 UTA alumni run for 3 offices". The Shorthorn. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  7. ^ "Arlington congressman Ron Wright's Democratic opponent blasts him for old columns". Dallas News. June 30, 2020. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  8. ^ Perks, Ashley (November 15, 2018). "Texas New Members 2019". TheHill. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  9. ^ Livingston, Abby (February 8, 2021). "U.S. Rep. Ron Wright dies weeks after testing positive for coronavirus". The Texas Tribune.
  10. ^ Mitchell, Mitch (December 1, 2017). "Ron Wright, former Barton chief of staff, runs for Congress | Fort Worth Star-Telegram". Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  11. ^ Tinsley, Anna M. (November 30, 2017). "Joe Barton re-election U.S House nude photos explicit text sexual harassment texas | Fort Worth Star-Telegram". Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  12. ^ Chumley, Cheryl K. (August 8, 2014). "Texas county taxman vows 'In God We Trust' stationary will stay". The Washington Times. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  13. ^ Marie, Brownie (August 4, 2014). "Texas county tax office adds 'In God We Trust' to stationery". Christian Today. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  14. ^ Pappas, Alex (November 22, 2017). "Republican Rep. Joe Barton apologizes after lewd photo surfaces". Fox News.
  15. ^ Cheney, Kyle (November 22, 2017). "GOP congressman Barton apologizes for nude selfie". Politico.
  16. ^ Editorial Board (November 27, 2017). "After cringe-worthy photo, let voters decide on Rep. Joe Barton's future". The Dallas Morning News.
  17. ^ Leslie, Katie (November 30, 2017). "Rep. Joe Barton: I will not seek re-election". Dallas Morning News. Dallas, TX. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  18. ^ Wiseman, Alana Rocha, Christina Shaman, Justin Dehn and Todd (April 18, 2018). "Meet the Texas Republican runoff candidates seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Joe Barton". The Texas Tribune.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ "Now that runoffs are over, it's off to the November races | Local News". May 26, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  20. ^ Rocha, Alana; Shaman, Christina; Dehn, Justin; Wiseman, Todd (April 18, 2018). "Meet the Texas Republican runoff candidates seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (video)". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  21. ^ Kennedy, Bud (May 23, 2018). "Former Joe Barton aide Ron Wright faces Jana Lynne Sanchez | Fort Worth Star-Telegram". Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  22. ^ "U.S. Rep. Ron Wright of Arlington defends his seat in Congress against Texas Democrat Stephen Daniel". Dallas News. November 4, 2020.
  23. ^ Adams, Matthew (June 6, 2019). "Should Women be Punished for Having Abortions? 'Absolutely,' Arlington Rep. Ron Wright Says in Video". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  24. ^ Diaz, Daniella (December 11, 2020). "Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court". CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  25. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". Associated Press. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  26. ^ Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). "Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  27. ^ "Order in Pending Case" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  28. ^ Yourish, Karen; Buchanan, Larry; Lu, Denise (January 7, 2021). "The 147 Republicans Who Voted to Overturn Election Results". The New York Times. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  29. ^ a b "Ron Wright Appointed to Foreign Affairs and Education and Labor | Representative Ron Wright". January 24, 2019. Archived from the original on February 14, 2021. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  30. ^ a b c d "Committees and Caucuses | Representative Ron Wright". Archived from the original on February 17, 2021. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  31. ^ McPherson, Lindsey (October 31, 2018). "As House Republicans Brace for Losses, Freedom Caucus Prepares for Growth". Roll Call. Retrieved November 17, 2018. Potential recruits receiving Freedom Fund money this cycle include Chip Roy in Texas' 21st District, Yvette Herrell in New Mexico's 2nd District, Mark Harris in North Carolina's 9th District, Greg Steube in Florida's 17th District, Denver Riggleman in Virginia's 5th District, Mark Green in Tennessee's 7th District, Russ Fulcher in Idaho's 1st District, Ron Wright in Texas' 6th District and Ben Cline in Virginia's 6th District.
  32. ^ Wright, Ron (July 26, 2019). "Ron Wright - Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  33. ^ Livingston, Abby (September 14, 2020). "U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, of Arlington, hospitalized due to complications from cancer treatment". Texas Tribune. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  34. ^ Samuels, Alex (January 21, 2021). "U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, hospitalized with cancer last year, tests positive for coronavirus". Texas Tribune. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  35. ^ Pramuk, Jacob (February 8, 2021). "Republican Rep. Ron Wright of Texas dies of Covid". CNBC. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  36. ^ Flatley, Daniel; House, Billy (February 8, 2021). "Ron Wright Is First Sitting Member of Congress to Die After Positive Covid Test". Bloomberg. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  37. ^ Crump, James (February 8, 2021). "Ron Wright: Republican congressman dies after contracting Covid". The Independent. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  38. ^ KERA News Staff (February 8, 2021). "North Texas Congressman Ron Wright Dies After Testing Positive For COVID-19". Houston Public Media. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  39. ^ State Republican Executive Committee, The Republican Party of Texas,, Austin, Texas.
  40. ^ Peterson, Kristina (July 28, 2021). "Jake Ellzey Wins Texas Special Election, Upsetting Trump-Endorsed Candidate". The Wall Street Journal. New York, New York. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  41. ^ Cohen, Ethan; Levy, Adam; Foran, Clare (May 2, 2021). "Texas election: Republicans Susan Wright, Jake Ellzey advance to runoff for Texas' 6th Congressional District". CNN. Retrieved May 2, 2021.
  42. ^ Montgomery, David (July 27, 2021). "Jake Ellzey Defeats Widow of Former Congressman in Race for Texas Seat". New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  43. ^ Religious affiliation of members of 116th Congress (PDF) (Report). Pew Research Center. January 3, 2019. Retrieved April 22, 2023.
  44. ^ "2018 Primary Election Official Results". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  45. ^ "Texas Election Results". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  46. ^ Astudillo, Carla (March 4, 2020). "Texas primary 2020 results: Watch live updates here". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  47. ^ "Texas Election Results: Sixth Congressional District". The New York Times. November 3, 2020. Retrieved February 8, 2021.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by