FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The days leading up to the special election on Saturday, May 1, for the 6th Congressional District in North Texas have featured big-name endorsements and negative attacks.

Twenty-three candidates are vying for the open seat after Republican Congressman Ron Wright died earlier this year in connection with COVID-19. He also battled lung cancer.

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Eleven Republicans, ten Democrats, one Independent, and one Libertarian are hoping to complete Wright’s term in the district that includes Ellis and Navarro counties and a part of Tarrant County.

One of them is Wright’s widow, Susan Wright.

She and her campaign expressed outrage Friday after hearing about an anonymous robocall sent to residents making baseless allegations that she caused her husband’s death.

During the recording an unidentified woman asks, “Did Susan Wright murder her husband? Is she now running for Congress to cover it up?”

Wright’s campaign says it immediately contacted the FBI, and in a statement Mrs. Wright said, “This is illegal, immoral, and wrong. There’s not a sewer too deep that some politicians won’t plumb.”

Earlier this week, Wright won an endorsement from former President Donald Trump and the conservative group Club for Growth, who held a teleconference for her.

The former President said, “Everyone knows Susan is outstanding. Susan is a committed conservative who will fight for our America First agenda, Make America Great Again. I guess unfortunately, we’re going to need that now more than ever.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz got involved in the race too, joining the Club for Growth in questioning the conservative credentials of another Republican candidate, State Representative Jake Ellzey of Waxahachie.

In an interview with CBS 11 this week, Sen. Cruz said, “I don’t know Jake personally, but I’ve seen his record. I’ve seen that he’s gotten support from never-Trumper Bill Kristol, that’s certainly worrisome.”

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That contribution came in 2018 when Ellzey lost the Republican primary to Ron Wright for this seat.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who also served as U.S. Energy Secretary during the Trump administration, has endorsed Ellzey and campaigned with him Friday.

He said Sen. Cruz received bad information and rejected the group’s criticism of Ellzey. “That is politics at its worst, I’m for Jake Ellzey. If you can’t come into the state of Texas and be for somebody, why don’t you stay on the east coast and keep your elite east coast money there. We understand in Texas what conservatism looks like.”

Three Democratic candidates have also emerged in the crowded field: Jana Lynne Sanchez, who ran in 2018, Dr. Lydia Bean, a former candidate for State Representative, and educator Shawn Lassiter.

Sanchez has been endorsed by the Latino Victory Fund and Bold PAC.

Bean has won the backing of multiple organized labor groups in North Texas.

Lassiter has received support from various school board trustees and civil rights activist and community leader Opal Lee.

Because the race features so many candidates, many analysts expect there to be a runoff, because they won’t earn 50 percent plus one votes required to win out-right.

This is not a primary, so only the two top finishers, regardless of party, would end up in the runoff election.

The Texas Democratic Party Chair, Gilberto Hinojosa said he hopes at least one of them will reach a runoff. “We believe we can we’ll at least one Democrat, we’ll get into the runoff. That district is a district ready to turn on a regular election, it would be an election, I think we could win with a strong candidate.”

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If there is a runoff, Governor Greg Abbott will have to set the date for the contest.