Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas) passed away on Sunday after contracting COVID-19. He had previously fought cancer. A strong pro-life conservative and a Christian, Wright had been serving his second term in Congress. His passing will trigger a special election later this year that may predict whether or not Republicans can take back the House in 2022.
“Congressman Ron Wright passed away peacefully at the age of 67 on Feb. 7, 2021,” the congressman’s office announced in a statement Monday. “His wife Susan was by his side and he is now in the presence of their Lord and Savior.”
Wright had struggled with cancer for the past few years. Two weeks ago, he and his wife were admitted to Baylor Hospital in Dallas after contracting COVID-19.
“Congressman Wright will be remembered as a constitutional conservative,” the statement added. “He was a statesman, not an ideologue. Ron and Susan dedicated their lives to fighting for individual freedom, Texas values, and above all, the lives of the unborn.”
“Ron maintained his quick wit and optimism until the very end,” his office remarked. “Despite years of painful, sometimes debilitating treatment for cancer, Ron never lacked the desire to get up and go to work, to motivate those around him, or to offer fatherly advice.”
Wright is survived by his wife, Susan; his son, Derek; his son Justin and wife Susan; his daughter Rachel and husband Jeff; his brother Gary and wife Janis; nine grandchildren; cousins; and extended family.
The press release ended with a quote from Philippians 4:8-9: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
— ABC News (@ABC) February 8, 2021
Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R-Texas) office confirmed that a special election will be held to fill the vacant House seat, although he did not provide a timeline. Potential contenders would appear on a ballot together, regardless of political affiliation.
The race may provide a glimpse into the strengths and weaknesses of the Republican and Democratic Parties after the 2020 election, Trump’s second impeachment trial, and President Joe Biden’s divisive policies.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.