I’m OK with this.
The U.S. House Democratic campaign arm may well be at war with another Texas Democrat.
Lillian Salerno, a Democratic House candidate in the Dallas-based 32nd Congressional District, pushed out a fiery news release on Thursday afternoon when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee telegraphed its preference for her primary rival, former NFL football player Colin Allred.
“Folks here are sick and tired of a bunch of Washington insiders trying to make their decisions for them,” she said. “But I’m not scared — I’ve stood up to power and fought for what’s right my entire life.”
“Texas hasn’t elected a new woman to Congress in twenty-two years, and we’re not taking it anymore,” she added. “The DCCC would do well to remember: Don’t mess with Texas women.”
At issue was a new list the committee released called “Red to Blue” candidates. The designation serves to signal to donors and DCCC allies which candidates the committee believes should be top recipients for contributions.
Red to Blue is not technically an endorsement from the DCCC. But DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján heaped praise on Allred in a committee news release on Thursday.
“Raised by a single mom who taught for 30 years in Dallas’s public schools, Colin Allred has never lost touch with the community that shaped him,” said Luján.
“Now, after representing his community on the football field and standing up for working people’s dignity in the Obama administration, Colin is running to put everyday Texans before special interests. Colin’s experience and new ideas will give North Texas a fresh start as they look to replace a politician who’s spent 20-years too many in Washington.”
In past cycles, the DCCC has named districts to its Red to Blue program, rather than specific candidates, to avoid these kinds of flare-ups.
The committee also named retired Air Force Intelligence Officer Gina Ortiz Jones to the program, who is running to take on U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes. Like Allred, she is in a runoff for her party’s nomination. Both Allred and Jones significantly outpaced their closest rivals in the first round of the primary contest.
She carried 41 percent of the vote in her district, compared to rival Rick Treviño’s 17 percent. Allred won 39 percent of the vote to Salerno’s 18 percent.
Here’s the full list of supported candidates so far. CD07 is not there yet, which seems like a bit of delayed discretion. What makes this different than the DCCC’s previous incursion is pretty simple: They have taken a position for a candidate, instead of against one. Both Allred and Ortiz Jones can reasonably be called the frontrunners, too, though anything can happen in a runoff. One can certainly argue that the DCCC should have waited these races out before getting involved, but if these are the candidates they want to support, then the case for working with them to ensure they get nominated is pretty clear. I sympathize with Trevino and Salerno, who has the support of Emily’s List, but that’s politics. I say don’t get mad, prove ’em wrong and make ’em support you in November instead.
On a side note, while Salerno is correct about the paucity of women elected to Congress from Texas, we’re going to get at least two more of them this year. In addition, if you look at that red-to-blue list, eighteen of the 33 candidates being supported by the DCCC at this time are women. And assuming the DCCC eventually supports the nominee in CD07 – yeah, that might mean making nice with Laura Moser; politics is full of such opportunities – then two of the three Texans they support will be women, too. I get why she’s unhappy and I don’t blame her, but I get what the DCCC is doing in these races, too.