Michael Wood, one of the Republicans running in thein Texas' 6th congressional district, is hoping to stand out in the race as an anti-Trump Republican, he told CBSN on Thursday.
"It's time for us to move past this man," Wood said in an interview with CBSN's Anne-Marie Green and Vladimir Duthiers. "I think that we need to do that now before we lose to Democrats in the midterms next year and the presidential election after that."
Wood, who is a Marine combat veteran and small business owner, is one of more than 22 candidates running in the state's special election to succeed Congressman Ron Wright, who died in February from complications from COVID-19. The North Texas seat represents the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has been held by Republicans since 1983.
"I'm in this race because this is the first battle for the soul of the Republican party," Wood said.
The candidate's decision to pursue politics is what he said was expedited following the tone and certain policies of Trump's presidential term, including the January 6 insurrection, which Wood said former President Trump "bears direct responsibility for."
His campaign in Tarrant County, Texas — which still accounts for many pro-Trump Republican voters — is what Wood described as a "tall mountain" to climb. However, Wood said that 30 to 35% of the Republican Party has indicated that they too are ready to move on from the previous president.
"Frankly I've been surprised with the number of people who have come up to me and said that they had been waiting on someone to say the things that I am saying; a Republican to speak plainly about what's happened in our country especially over the past few months," Wood said.
Aside from anti-Trump pillars of his campaign, the Midland, Texas native also is pushing for a more modest infrastructure plan than President Joe Biden's $2 trillion dollar proposal. He said that infrastructure problems in the nation and in his state, which saw major issues in the past year, can be addressed with a plan in the range of $300 to $500 billion dollars.
The veteran, who was deployed in Afghanistan for two tours, also said that he agreed with Mr. Biden's recent decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan after the 20 years spent fighting in the country against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
"We can have a robust anti-terrorism policy towards Afghanistan that doesn't require an incredible amount of troops on the ground," Wood said. "I think this is just, from a moral and a strategic point of view, the right move but it is very difficult."
Wood also told CBSN that he supports Mr. Trump's "the Migrant Protection Protocols, was first implemented in January 2019 and sent asylum seekers to return back to Mexico while waiting for their U.S. immigration proceedings." policy and said that he hopes that it will be reinstated. The policy, also referred to as
"This isn't going to be solved through litigation," Wood said. "The immigration problem as a whole ultimately has to be solved through Congress, through legislation."
In a little more than two weeks, Wood face against two former Trump administration officials, 11 Republicans, and 10 Democrats in the polls at the state's special all-party election.