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Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress

Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress
© Greg Nash

A former top strategist for former President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE’s presidential campaigns is taking steps to run for a U.S. House seat left vacant by the late Rep. Ron WrightRon WrightJulia Letlow sworn in as House member after winning election to replace late husband GOP candidate sues Texas Tribune amid uproar over comments on Chinese immigrants GOP lawmakers pull support of candidate following comments about Chinese immigrants MORE (R-Texas), who succumbed to the coronavirus earlier this year. 

Katrina Pierson, a Tea Party activist who served as a spokesperson for Trump’s 2016 campaign and as top adviser on his failed reelection bid, is planning to file in the coming days to run for Wright’s seat, based southeast of Fort Worth and stretching into rural Ellis and Navarro counties, according to five sources with knowledge of her planning. 

A source close to Pierson said she is building a campaign team ahead of a likely announcement, though a final decision about whether to enter the race was coming in the next day or two. 

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Several sources say Pierson has held advanced conversations with a top Republican consulting firm about plans to enter the race in the coming days. 

Those sources said they expected Pierson to receive Trump’s backing when she enters the race, a huge boost to any candidate running in a Republican primary decided by voters deeply enamored of the former president. 

“There is a lot of excitement about my potential candidacy, and I am honored to have so much local support. As a proven conservative fighter, from my home state of Texas, I remain committed to furthering the America First agenda. I was with President Trump long before the historic escalator ride, and I remain with him still. I will make my final decision within the next 48 hours,” Pierson said in a text message to The Hill on Sunday.

Pierson and the other candidates who plan to seek Wright’s seat have until Wednesday to formally file paperwork to run. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a proclamation last week declaring Wright’s seat vacant, setting up a May 1 primary election.

Wright’s district has voted for Republican presidential candidates in the past, but by increasingly narrow margins. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyAdvocacy groups pushing Biden to cancel student debt for disabled 15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults now eligible for COVID vaccines MORE won the district with almost 58 percent of the vote in 2012. Trump won there with 54 percent in 2016, but he only beat Biden by a 51 percent to 48 percent margin there in 2020. 

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Pierson will not have the primary to herself. Susan Wright, a prominent Republican activist and Ron Wright’s widow, also plans to run. Sery Kim, who held a post in the Department of Health and Human Services during the first year of the Trump administration, has announced plans to run. So has state Rep. Jake Ellzey (R), a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who came within 1,100 votes of beating Wright in a race for an open seat in 2018. 

Several Republicans involved in the race pointed to the fact that Pierson, who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsEx-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results National lawyers group seeks to have Gohmert disciplined over election suit MORE (R) in a suburban Dallas district in 2014, does not live in Wright’s old district.

Wright died Feb. 7, age 67, just weeks after contracting the coronavirus and just months after winning reelection to a second term. He said in 2019 he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.