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Another Republican congressional candidate has denounced Donald Trump and says he will go to court to challenge Trump’s eligibility if he runs for re-election.
Mansfield tax lawyer John Anthony Castro, who ran fourth among Republicans May 1 in the U.S. House District 6 special election, said the party is led by a “false prophet” and that the Jan. 6 Capitol riot exposed his “constant false information.”
Castro, 37, is the second Republican candidate from the nationally watched District 6 election to denounce the former president.
Fort Worth Republican Michael Wood, a Marine veteran, gained national TV and news attention throughout the campaign for criticizing Trump, calling Trump’s recent behavior “appalling” and saying that Trump’s phony election conspiracy claims hurt the party, the nation and the rule of law.
Wood became nationally known but remained unknown in Arlington and Mansfield, where he had never held local office or established himself as a candidate. So he finished with 3% of the vote, far behind runoff finalists state Republican committeewoman Susan Wright and state Rep. Jake Ellzey.
Castro said last week he could no longer remain silent on Trump after U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney was removed from House leadership.
That morning, Castro said he wrote and deleted a Twitter comment to his 9,000-plus followers saying the Republican Party “no longer allows freedom of thought.”
(Trump later went on to bash U.S. Rep. Chip Roy of Austin, a staunch conservative who voted against overturning the 2020 election.)
“I admired Michael Wood,” Castro said by phone: “He was out saying exactly what I felt.”
Castro said he didn’t criticize Trump during the campaign because he was “trying not to be outspoken.”
The Trump voters he met in District 6 “mean well,” he said.
“They’re just being led by a false prophet. .... It really comes down to all these conspiracy theories. Its just this constant false information.”
More than half of Texas Republicans believe Trump really won the 2020 election, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. Right or wrong, Republicans see him as a winner.
Castro was mostly a phantom candidate. He campaigned on Zoom, but primarily plastered the district with self-funded billboards and signs.
Yet he finished with 6% of the vote, ahead of Wood and cable TV news darlings such as well-heeled ex-wrestler Dan Rodimer and former Trump administration official Sery Kim.
Next, Castro said he is considering filing for president in 2024 just so he has the legal standing to challenge Trump’s eligibility under the 14th amendment.
(That bans anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.”)
Castro said strongly that he will not support Wright, an Arlington Republican running to replace her late husband, Ron Wright, in the district long represented by U.S. Rep. Joe Barton.
“I will not support anyone who is endorsed by Trump,” he said, saying he will vote for Ellzey in the July 27 runoff.
Trump endorsed Wright five days before the election, then took full credit for Wright’s success, writing in a statement that she surged “because of my Endorsement” and “It would be nice ... if the pundits and Fake News Media would state the real reason.”
Wright and Ellzey were virtually even in early voting, but after Trump’s endorsement, Wright more than doubled Ellzey’s vote on Election Day.
Both Wright and Ellzey praised Cheney’s removal last week. In a statement, Wright said Republicans “need to be solely focused on taking back the House” and calling Cheney a “distraction.”
“We know that President Trump’s America First agenda resonates strongly with our voters,” she said.
Definitely in Arlington.