AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Democratic candidate Greg Sagan is re-launching his campaign in the race for Texas’ 13th U.S. Congressional District.
Sagan held a press conference to make the announcement he was dropping out of the race on March 13, just more than a week after the primary election. He had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a form of cancer that left him vulnerable to infection. At that time, he said limitations from the disease would pose problems if he were to work in Washington.
However, on Wednesday morning, Sagan announced his campaign’s return.
“There have been no side effects from the medications, no complications from the disease itself, and in checking with my medical team recently, they said well, you know, we caught this early and you’re responding well to treatment.”
During the March election, Democratic candidate Gus Trujillo, an office manager from Amarillo, had the most votes but failed to reach the 51% mark to avoid a runoff. Sagan, a retired business consultant, won the Democratic nomination in this race in the last two elections.
According to Sagan, he never officially withdrew from the Democratic race and announced his departure too late to be removed from runoff ballots.
Potter County Democratic Party Chairman, Steve Land, said on Thursday the only way to withdraw from a primary ballot is to have the Texas Democratic Party (TDP) Chairman, Gilberto Hinojosa, request the Secretary of State to formally remove the name.
“I delivered the form to Mr. Sagan just before the press conference that Wednesday or Thursday afternoon and explained to him twice what the form represented and how to accomplish the removal of his name from the ballot,” Land said in a Thursday morning email. “There was indeed a time constraint that was six or seven days after the press conference when I gave Mr. Sagan the form.”
Sagan said on Wednesday he was unsure whether the form was meant to be delivered to the Secretary of State’s office or the TDP, claiming he found out after the deadline it was not delivered to the correct office in time. Sagan referred to it an “an innocent mistake.”
Land said he called Sagan the following Sunday afternoon to check whether he had sent the form. According to Land, Sagan said if he wanted to know that information, he should ask the TDP Chairman’s office.
Sagan told MyHighPlains.com he chose to keep campaigning mainly because of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as his continued health.
“Why not just take advantage of that and say to the voters, okay, you still have a choice? You can still vote for either Mr. Trujillo or myself,” said Sagan.
Wednesday, Sagan said he thinks his Trujillo is working with the Republicans, citing Trujillo’s past internship with Rep. Mac Thornberry’s (R-Amarillo) office.
“If Mr. Trujillo were really a Republican or a Republican sympathizer, if he dropped out of the race between the run-off and the November general election, he would effectively kick the seat right back into the Republican hands.”
But Trujillo said the allegations Sagan made about him are ‘inaccurate, absurd, and offensive.’ Trujillo said while he still has respect for Rep. Thornberry, he is a Democrat through and through.
“Mr. Sagan can say any kind of things he wants to me, I don’t care, I can actually take it,” Trujillo said. “But to mess up this area’s chances to make a huge change is unfortunate and it’s yeah, I just, I’m sad to see that happen.”
Trujillo said he thought Sagan purposely failed to properly withdraw from the race.
“I thought, well, he might be having some kind of other, ulterior motive to come back and maybe sabotage something and it turns out that I was right…” Trujillo added. “So I’m not sure what his exact motive is, because as we saw, he has discussed how he’s forgotten things or he’s not aware of things. So I guess I’m more concerned about his health, even if it is mentally.”
Sagan faces allegations as well.
As we previously reported in an I-team investigation in February, Sagan was accused of molesting a child more than four decades ago. Lisa White claims she was molested by Sagan more than 40 years ago.
“Just like this station has reported, the accusations against Mr. Sagan for child molestation are pretty serious and that’s the other thing that concerns a lot of Democrats,” Trujillo said on Wednesday. “I got so many calls about that today, and so I’m just worried about how it’s going to affect turnout and how we’ll win in November.”
Sagan said the allegations against him are an act of political extortion.
“The rest of the voters are gonna have to make up their minds about this. If they think that that’s a determining feature in my background and in my running, then that’s how they’re gonna vote. If they looked at my record, my total record and say, you know, there’s only one of these and it’s 40 years old, and it was put in here, just to get him out of the race, then they may view that much more suspiciously. But I’m not going to tell the voters how to look at it, they’re gonna have to do that for themselves,” Sagan added.
The Democratic run-off will be on July 14, 2020.
There will also be a runoff on the Republican side in July between former White House physician Ronny Jackson and Josh Winegarner, who had the most votes during the March primary.
Watch Sagan’s full interview here:
Watch Trujillo’s full interview here:
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