Ronny Jackson, the former chief medical adviser in the White House who ran for the open District 13 Congressional seat with the endorsement of his former boss, current President of the United States Donald J. Trump, appears set to replace longtime U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry as the newest Congressman in District 13.
Thornberry, a Republican from Clarendon, has held the seat since he was first elected in 1994, according to previous reporting from the Amarillo Globe-News. He announced in October 2019 that he would not be running for reelection in 2020, spending more than 25 years in the seat representing District 13.
During the 2020 campaign for the open seat, Jackson, a Levelland native, overcame a double-digit number of Republican candidates in the primary, a runoff against Josh Winegarner, who originally won the primary, as well as Democratic and Libertarian candidates to win the seat Tuesday evening.
According to unofficial results from the office of the Texas Secretary of State, Jackson received 79.66% of the vote, as of 11:50 p.m. Tuesday evening. Gus Trujillo, the Democratic candidate, received 18.18% of the vote and Jack Westbrook, the Libertarian candidate, received 2.16% of the vote.
In Potter County, according to unofficial results from its Election Administration office, 68.44% of voters chose Jackson while 29.09% voted for Trujillo and 2.47% voted for Westbrook. A total of 78.76% of voters chose Jackson in Randall County, according to unofficial results from its Election Administration office, while 18.99% voted for Trujillo and 2.25% voted for Westbrook.
“I feel great, man. I’m excited. It’s been a long haul,” Jackson said during an Election Night party Tuesday evening. “We started back in December and tonight, it closes out. I’m excited to have it over with so that we can get to work. I’m super excited about representing not only the most conservative district in the entire United States, but just the best district in the United States with the best folks. People up here are one of a kind. You couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be associated with and to work for and represent. I’m excited and I’m going to go to work. I’m going to work hard for this district and make sure that we have a voice and get everything we need here in the Texas Panhandle and north Texas.”
Trujillo, the Democratic candidate in the race, was disappointed by the results. But it meant a lot to him knowing that he had support behind his candidacy.
“I think that I am just happy with getting people out to vote. There were some Republicans who voted for me and they voiced that,” he said. “I am happy that I was able to change some minds because I ran more about unity and being open minded. I think that we made a dent.”
Westbrook was also hoping for better results out of Tuesday’s election. But while it was not what he hoped for, it was what he expected.
“I think that most people in this area still continue to vote based on party instead of based on the information and that sort of thing that’s available to them to make a decision,” he said. “They tend to vote by color instead of by the facts of what people stand for and that sort of thing.”
Representing District 13, Jackson said he would like to represent his district on various committees: including the Agriculture committee and the Armed Services committee. Jackson would also like to become an active participant in the process of healthcare reform in the United States, bringing in his background as a physician.
But during his time as Congressman, Jackson’s overall goal is “to change the culture” of the United States, he said.
“We’ve been going down the wrong path for a while. We’ve got a whole generation of kids out there right now that don’t take a lot of pride in being American,” he said. “They don’t have a lot of patriotism. They don’t have a lot of respect for themselves, for others, for other people’s property, for the flag, for the police, for the military. There’s a variety of reasons why that happened but I want to turn that around. I want to lead the way on that.”
During Tuesday night’s celebration, Jackson thanked his supporters for sticking by him through the Election process. But he still wants to win over the individuals who did not vote for him, saying “I’m going to work every day to find those folks, to get out there and to really identify them and sell myself to them and win their hearts and minds as well.”
Jackson said he plans to work with Trujillo to further achieve the goal to come together and represent everybody in the district, not just Republicans, stating that Trujillo is a “great guy.”
“I don’t think there was much of a chance that (Trujillo) was going to win a race in… the most conservative district in the country,” Jackson said. “I appreciate the fact that he’s young and he’s energetic and he’s interested in politics. I think he has a bright future ahead of him, maybe not in the 13th Congressional District, but, you know, somewhere. I think it was probably a great experience for him to get out there at a young age and experience a campaign. I’m sure he learned a lot from this.”
Westbrook’s advice to Jackson would be for him to use the authority and responsibility he has been given and make District 13 residents proud.
Trujillo hopes that Jackson continues to be involved in District 13 communities and that he does not cater to special interest groups.
“I really, honestly hope he doesn’t embarrass us in Washington, I really do,” Trujillo said.
In two years, when Jackson comes up for reelection for the seat, he wants his work representing District 13 to speak for itself.
“There’s a lot of opportunity out there to really make a big difference in this district,” Jackson said. “I want people to vote for me two years from now because they (have looked) at what I have done over the past two years and they are like ‘we have got to get that guy back into office.’”
(c) 2020 Amarillo Globe-News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.