Candidate Watch Texas

Candidate Watch Texas

TX-32: Colin Allred

Candidate Watch: Former NFL Player- Turned-Civil Rights Lawyer Battles for Texas’ 32nd Congressional District!

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colin allredColin Allred, Democrat from Dallas, is challenging incumbent Republican Pete Sessions for Texas’ 32nd Congressional District. Allred handily won the Democratic nomination in this district, which Clinton narrowly won in 2016. Allred will face both Sessions and Libertarian Melina Baker in November. Pollsters think Allred has a good chance; GOP analysts call Sessions the most vulnerable incumbent in Texas, and the DCCC puts this contest in its Red to Blue program. Great potential here, and WNDC needs to help push him over the line! Born and raised by a single mom who taught in Texas public schools for nearly 30 years, Allred earned a full-ride football scholarship to Baylor University, where he was as much scholar as athlete. He deferred his acceptance to the University of California Berkeley School of Law to sign with the Tennessee Titans. After a career-ending neck injury, he fulfilled his law school dreams and then served as a voting rights litigator and special assistant in the Counsel’s office of Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development. His campaign issue portfolio includes: expanding and protecting the Affordable Care Act; empowering small businesses and investing in job training for the 21st century; voting rights; gun violence prevention; women’s rights; and more. Allred’s endorsements are numerous and include: Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Congressional Black Caucus, Mexican American Bar Association of Dallas, Giffords Campaign, Dallas AFL-CIO, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, former Secretary of HUD, and Wendy Davis, former TX state senator.

On the other hand, many say Sessions has lost touch with his Texas voters. He voted to cut CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) funding and voted in favor of the President’s tax reform for corporations. So we at WNDC need to be ever vigilant in District 32!

TX-7: Lizzie Pannill Fletcher

Lizzie Pannill Fletcher for Texas’s 7th District

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lizzie fletcher for congressLizzie Pannill Fletcher is facing Republican U.S Representative John Culbertson in the battle for Texas’s 7th District. Though Culbertson is a nine-term incumbent, he is considered vulnerable as his district was won by Hillary Clinton. In Fletcher’s opinion, he “puts party ahead of country and especially ahead of the Houstonians in the 7th District,” noting that he has undermined investment in the Houston infrastructure and has neglected disaster preparedness, despite the great needs after Hurricane Harvey ruined much of the city in 2017. He also has raised the cost of health care for families in the District. He has $1 million in his campaign account to Fletcher’s $1.4 million.

Fletcher is a Houstonian who has lived most of her life in the 7th District. A Phi Beta Kappa scholar, she became the first woman partner of the 50-person Houston law firm AZA in 2015. While the firm focuses on high-stakes business litigation, it also works on issues she cares about, giving her the opportunity to represent Houstonians of diverse backgrounds who face difficult issues. She fights for them.

Fletcher wants to go to Washington to represent Houston, a city that “opens its doors to newcomers from around the world, prides itself on scientific discovery, serves as a hub for innovation, works together, and takes care of its neighbors.” Follow Lizzie on, where she lists her positions on a broad range of issues: civil rights, education, equality, foreign policy/national security, gun safety, health care, immigration, jobs, Medicare/Social Security, transportation/infrastructure, voting rights, and women’s health.

TX-23: Gina Ortiz Jones

Gina Ortiz Jones for Texas’ 23rd District!

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Gina Ortiz Jones defeated her Democratic challenger Rick Trevino in the May 22 runoff election for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, after the two beat three other Democrats in the primary. Ortiz Jones, a Filipina-American and former Air Force intelligence officer, won by capturing 68% of the vote to Trevino’s 32%. She now faces a two-term incumbent, Republican African American Will Hurd, who has lots of gas and oil money. This district is usually a swing district between Democrats and Republicans, but Hurd–who even voted for Hillary Clinton–stopped that in 2016 with a narrow re-election victory. According to the DCCC, Hurd voted 95% with Ryan and 97% with Trump in a heavily Hispanic-Latino district, not good for West Texas families. The district is now rated a “toss up” by Pollsters Inside Elections and Sabato, with Cook rating it competitive and leaning Republican.

As a career civil servant after her military tours, Ortiz Jones worked under presidents of both parties. She became frustrated with Trump and his administration, and outraged with his policies and personnel choices for the top administration jobs. She later quit her job, and stepped up to run for the 23rd!

Her Democratic supporters are energized by those same feelings and concerns about the Trump presidency. Ortiz Jones launched an active campaign agenda: responsible immigration reform; accessible affordable health care; higher education and skilled job training; and protecting seniors and veterans. Her endorsements are numerous: Emily’s List, Vote Vets, Giffords PAC, and Khizr Khan. If Ortiz Jones wins, her victory will herald lots of Firsts in Texas: Asian-American, Lesbian, and Iraq War veteran. WNDC, let’s get her over the finish line!

TX-Senate: Beto O’Rourke

Congressional Candidate Watch: Texas Turning Blue? Beto for Senate!

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Beto O’Rourke is the 45 year-old, Spanish-speaking, two-term Congressman from El Paso, TX who is challenging Ted Cruz in the upcoming Texas Senate race. Prior to his election to Congress, “Beto,” as he is known to his staff and supporters, had served on the El Paso City Council since 2005. Before he began his career in public service, Beto owned and ran a small technology company in El Paso. Beto also had a brief career in the rock world as the bassist in a punk band in the early 1990s.

In the New York Times Opinion Section, Frank Bruni recently described him as a political fable. “He’s a peppy, rangy, toothy progressive with ratios of folksiness to urbanity and irreverence to earnestness that might well have been cooked up in some political laboratory.” Beto has no speechwriter, because he never speaks from a fixed script. He has no pollster, because he’s not developing a strategy based on polls. Beto has been driving across the state himself, visiting every county in Texas. He is visiting college campuses and small towns. He is listening to people and responding, unscripted, to their concerns. In a state where Democrat is often still a dirty word, Beto is staying true to his progressive ideals, while still appealing to a more conservative electorate that is unhappy with Trumpism.

The last time a Democrat won statewide office in Texas was 24 years ago. However, Beto’s poll numbers have been climbing, with the most recent numbers indicating that the race is too close to call. There is only room to grow as 53% of Texas voters say they don’t know enough to have an opinion of him yet. His campaign events are packed and his financial coffers are ballooning, despite the fact that the campaign accepts no donations from PACs, corporations, or special interests. At the end of Q1 2018 the campaign had raised $13.2 million, significantly outpacing Ted Cruz and raising more than any Texas Democrat running for the Senate has ever amassed.

This is genuinely a grassroots campaign with an army of supporters canvassing and making calls for him across the state. He has a map showing his upcoming campaign events taking place across the state, making it easy for supporters to get involved and meet other supporters. Connectivity to other Beto supporters will be important as former Republicans venture into voting for a Democrat for the first time. The Texas Senate race is certainly not an easy one for Democrats, but if there was ever a candidate that was capable of taking on the complex social, political, and economic issues affecting Texans, Beto O’Rourke is the guy.

TX-4: Catherine Krantz

Congressional Candidate Watch: Catherine Krantz for Texas’s 4th Congressional District!

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Catherine-Krantz-headshot-1The Democratic Congressional candidate running in November for Texas’ 4th District is Catherine Krantz. Let’s help her turn the 4th blue! The 4th District stretches through a number of counties in northeastern Texas. The district has historically been so red that Democrats did not even field a Congressional candidate there in 2014 and 2016. It has been represented by Republican John Ratcliffe since 2014, and prior to that by Republican Ralph Hall. According to pollsters, currently this district does not represent a realistic pick-up opportunity for Democrats. However, supporting Krantz now can help set up the district to be competitive in future elections, by increasing Democratic visibility and engagement in the district.

Catherine is a native Texan. She helps run her family’s business in the district, and previously had worked in Mexico for many years (she is a dual citizen). Her web page lists her priorities, which include preserving social security, improving infrastructure, strengthening the Affordable Care Act (her website notes that she has had Obamacare herself for three years and that it has “been a blessing”), reducing income inequality, and implementing reasonable immigration and gun control policies.

Catherine’s opponent, incumbent John Ratcliffe, has voted to impose criminal penalties on abortion providers and place other restrictions on women’s right to choose; has an “A” rating from the NRA; and supports Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim travel ban and increased restrictions on refugees entering the US. He votes with Trump over 90% of the time according to FiveThirtyEight.

However this race turns out, WNDC can help Catherine mobilize Democratic and progressive voters in the 4th!

TX-11: Jennie Lou Leeder

Congressional Candidate Watch: Jennie Lou Leeder for Texas’ 11th Congressional District!

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jennylouriederDemocrat Jennie Lou Leeder is challenging Republican incumbent Kenneth Michael “Mike” Conaway for Texas’ 11th Congressional District. According to the Cook Report, Texas is poised for change in 2018. Trump has a low rating in the state and Republicans are frustrated with him. Let’s help Leeder bring that change to the 11th District!

District 11 is in west central Texas, covering 29 counties, including the cities of Midland, Odessa, and San Angel. It has been represented by Republican Conaway since 2005. Politico Says Conaway immediately began building one of the most conservative records on the Hill. According to FiveThirtyEight, he has voted with Trump 98% of the time. Conaway took over for Nunes (R-CA) as the Chair of the Permanent Select House Committee on Intelligence and, on April 27, released the Committee’s Russia Investigation report with newly declassified information.

Jennie Lou Leeder, a 7th generation Texan, is an educator, a businesswoman, and a coach, and has been active in politics since 2007, as Democratic Chair for Llano county (2007-20017). She is the daughter of two retired teachers and is a former teacher herself. In 2014, Leeder was elected Senate District 24 Committeewoman where she served one term and also sat on the Rural Subcommittee, Urban County Subcommittee, and Legislative Committees.

Leeder campaigns that Medicaid and Medicare are essential safety nets for seniors, the disabled, and children living under the poverty line. She supports a strong national infrastructure, beyond roads and bridges, including pipes for drinking water, rail systems, power grids, and broadband connectivity for creating jobs and for investing and maintaining those systems for the future.

The WNDC is highlighting this strong woman who is challenging a seven-term GOP incumbent and who we believe just might make it over the finishing line in November!