Has Pete Sessions Marinated in D.C. Too Long for Texas Voters?

Pete Sessions, Colin Allred
Pete Sessions, Colin Allred Courtesy/Twitter, Colin Allred
Pete Sessions, Colin Allred
Pete Sessions, Colin Allred Courtesy/Twitter, Colin Allred

In the 2008 presidential election, John McCain won Texas’ Congressional District 32 by 11 percentage points, and in 2012, Mitt Romney won it by 15. It was not, in other words, a district that anybody at the DNC hoped to flip anytime soon. CD 32 covers a lot of wealthy inner-ring Dallas, including Preston Hollow, where Dubya is killing time in retirement. So in 2016, when Hillary Clinton won the district by 3 points, there was a fair amount of shock and recrimination, too, that the party had failed to run anyone at all against the incumbent, Pete Sessions.

They have a candidate now — a pretty good one. Colin Allred, a native of Dallas, briefly played football for the Tennessee Titans before getting a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley and working for Julián Castro when he was the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Allred beat out two other Obama administration veterans in a competitive primary and has considerable backing from national Democratic organizations. A recent New York Times poll had Sessions just ahead of Allred, but within the margin of error.

If there’s one reason to think Allred might outperform his numbers just a bit, it’s that Sessions has marinated in Washington, D.C., for quite a long time. In one unforgettable episode from 2009, Sessions directed federal money to a company in Illinois that was attempting to build blimps, a firm that had paid a former Sessions staffer almost half a million dollars to lobby for them. Recently, Mike Pence made plans to come to Texas on Sessions’ behalf, and national Republican groups have mobilized to get Sessions emergency financial support.

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Christopher Hooks is a freelance journalist in Austin.

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