Robocalls allege U.S. congressional candidate killed her husband, campaign says

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A candidate for the U.S. Congress from Texas has asked federal law enforcement authorities to look into reports of robocalls alleging she murdered her husband, a former Republican congressman who died of COVID-19 in February, a campaign statement said on Friday.

The campaign of Susan Wright, the widow of the late Representative Ron Wright, said it contacted authorities about the calls. The special election to replace the congressman is on Saturday.

"When we heard reports of this criminal smear of a robocall attacking Susan, we immediately referred the matter to law enforcement and started cooperating with authorities," Matt Langston, a consultant to the candidate, said in the statement.

Wright is among 23 candidates running in a Republican-leaning district of north Texas, where Democrats have made gains in recent years.

A conservative party activist with a string of endorsements from Texas Republicans, she was thought by analysts to have the edge in the crowded field even before former President Donald Trump endorsed her this week.

"This is illegal, immoral, and wrong," Wright said in a statement. "There’s not a sewer too deep that some politicians won’t plumb. Imagine it: someone is attacking my late husband, the love of my life, a man who gave me such joy in life."

There was no immediate comment from the FBI or the U.S. Department of Justice.

Politico reported earlier on Friday that the calls say Susan Wright took out a $1 million life insurance policy on her husband six months before his death and then "murdered her husband," claiming she "tearfully confided in a nurse that she had purposefully contracted the coronavirus.” It said the robocalls do not have an attribution saying who is paying for the attacks.

The Saturday election may lead to a runoff if no one gets 50 percent of the vote. It will be the first test of the Texas electorate, where Democrats hope to advance, since President Joe Biden's 2020 election victory.

The north Texas region has sent a Republican to Congress in Washington since the 1980s, but Trump only narrowly won the district last year.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)