On November 8, Texas’s 32nd congressional district voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a margin of 48.5 to 46.6 percent. And yet, the district’s incumbent Republican congressman Pete Sessions won reelection by over 50 points — because no Democrat ran against him.
The donkey party won’t be letting Sessions off that easy in 2018. This week, Colin Allred, a former NFL player and current civil-rights lawyer, announced that he plans to paint the Dallas suburbs blue next year.
“I was born and raised in this district by a single mother who taught in Dallas public schools for 27 years,” Allred, whose résumé includes stints with the Tennessee Titans and Obama-era Housing department, told the Dallas Morning News Wednesday. “This community — my mom, my teachers, and my coaches — gave me the opportunity to succeed, play in the NFL, become a civil-rights attorney, and work for President Obama. I want to make sure future generations have the same opportunities and to make sure those values are being represented in D.C.”
Allred told the paper that the “grassroots energy” that Democrats have displayed since Trump’s election inspired him to challenge Sessions.
And he isn’t the only one who’s experiencing such inspiration. According to the News, several other Democrats are eyeing a run at Sessions’s seat, including Ed Meier, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton.
Texas’s 32nd district is one of many Sunbelt suburbs that swung dramatically leftward for the Clinton-Trump race. If the Democrats have a path back to a majority in 2018, it probably runs through these highly educated, historically Republican suburban enclaves that have little appetite for Trumpism, but a taste for Panera bread.
Some GOP operatives have insisted that such districts will revert to type once Trump is no longer on the ballot. But Jon Ossoff’s strong showing in Tom Price’s old district last night should give courage to would-be Democratic challengers in the lands of Whole Foods and SUVs.
And the Texas suburbs look especially promising. A Texas Lyceum poll released Wednesday found Trump’s favorability is underwater in the Lone Star State. Fifty-four percent of Texans told the pollster they disapprove of the job the president’s doing, while just 42 percent said the opposite.
The survey also found El Paso congressman — and declared 2018 Democratic challenger to Ted Cruz — Beto O’Rourke running even with the Republican senator. Granted, each man lays claim to only 30 percent support, with 37 percent of respondents saying they hadn’t thought enough about the race yet to have a preference.
The poll also shows San Antonio congressman Joaquin Castro, who is considering a run at Cruz’s seat, outpolling Cruz 35 to 31 percent.