Wright ran a lackluster campaign that fellow Republicans derided: She was out-raised by Ellzey and relied heavily on outside spending by Club for Growth than her own efforts. The Club for Growth ran such a bitterly negative campaign against Ellzey that it prompted several prominent Republicans, including rising star Representative Dan Crenshaw, to endorse him in solidarity.
Although the two candidates have minimal ideological differences from a national standpoint, the Trump endorsement also made Ellzey the candidate favored by Democrats in the special election, which was reinforced via text messages from the underdog Republican’s campaign.
It’s the first time a Trump-endorsed candidate lost a Republican primary since Madison Cawthorn beat out Lynda Bennett in North Carolina in a safe red district in June 2020. Bennett was a close ally of then-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows. However, that loss occurred while Trump was the leader of the free world with an unparalleled social-media megaphone; it simply registered as an aberration. This defeat happened as Trump has become a (somewhat) more diminished figure in the aftermath of his election defeat and the conspiracy theories that followed.