Two Texas Republicans who left Washington under sour circumstances in recent years are in strong positions to head back after Tuesday's runoffs.
Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician and President Donald Trump’s onetime nominee for secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and former U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions both secured their party’s nominations in districts that lean heavily toward the GOP.
Jackson, who withdrew from consideration for the VA secretary job amid allegations of professional misconduct, including drinking on the job and overprescribing medication, won his bid for the Republican nomination for a solidly red 13th Congressional District seat in the Texas Panhandle.
Meanwhile, Sessions had represented the Dallas-based 32nd Congressional District since 1996 but lost reelection in 2018 to U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, a Democrat. Sessions moved 100 miles south to Waco to vie for the GOP nomination in the 17th Congressional District, emerging victorious Tuesday night.
With 100% of polling locations reporting, Jackson held a lead of 11 percentage points over Josh Winegarner, a veteran agriculture expert and lobbyist. Jackson and Winegarner were competing for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, who is retiring and held the seat since 1995.
The district covers most of the Panhandle and reaches as far east as the Fort Worth suburbs.
Jackson enjoyed the support of Trump, who campaigned for Jackson as late as Monday in a telephone town hall, and the conservative group Club for Growth. Winegarner ran on his local roots and his deep ties to the agriculture industry.
Mail-in ballots will still need to be counted, but Jackson's lead appeared insurmountable. Jackson declared victory in a tweet Tuesday night: "I promise I WILL MAKE YOU PROUD IN CONGRESS."
And Trump tweeted his own congratulations.
"Ronny will be a fantastic Congressman - Will represent the wonderful people of the Great State of Texas, and the USA, very well," he wrote. "Proud of you Ronny!!!"
In his race, Sessions held an 8-percentage-point lead over medical office manager Renee Swann with about four-fifths of polling centers reporting.
Swann and Sessions were vying to replace U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, who is retiring. Flores vigorously supported Swann over his former colleague, Sessions, to succeed him in the seat he held since 2011.
Just after 10 p.m., Swann conceded on Twitter.
"I offer my congratulations to Pete Sessions and ask everyone who cares about preserving what is great and amazing in our country to support him in the general election," she wrote.