Democratic Party enthusiasm after Trump's stunning election has put Sessions at risk of losing to Dallas civil rights lawyer Colin Allred. Demographic changes have also changed the political makeup of the district, which lawmakers in the GOP-controlled ...
SAN ANTONIO — Pete Sessions, acknowledging that his re-election bid would be hard-fought, said Saturday that his race and others would hinge on whether voters preferred the policies of President Donald Trump or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
"We're going to be given the opportunity to go one direction or another," Sessions said in an interview. "The direction we can go is about making sure Nancy Pelosi is speaker, single-payer system, making sure we raise taxes and spending, and get more government."
Dallas Rep. Pete Sessions’ race rated ‘toss-up’ as Allred closes in on U.S. House seat
Sessions, R-Dallas, said he represented the better approach.
"We can follow Donald Trump and the Republican model that we understand. That is full employment. We want to solve the immigration problem, we want to solve the health care problem, and we want every single American to have a job and career," Sessions said. "We want to make America great again."
Sessions, who has been in Congress since 1997, is trying to win re-election to the 32nd Congressional District, an area in North and East Dallas that Hillary Clinton narrowly won in her 2016 presidential race against Trump.
Democratic Party enthusiasm after Trump's stunning election has put Sessions at risk of losing to Dallas civil rights lawyer Colin Allred. Demographic changes also have changed the political makeup of the district, which lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Texas Legislature developed to favor Sessions. He ran unopposed in 2016 and received more votes than Clinton.
Sessions, who was at the convention with his father, former FBI director William Sessions, acknowledged those changes and conceded his race would be difficult.
"It's now a toss-up district," he said, echoing what some analysts have concluded.
Allred on Saturday said Sessions was trying to shift the focus of the race away from his record in Congress.
"Pete Sessions' divisive rant does nothing to address the concerns facing North Texas families," Allred said. "This is typical of a politician who has lost touch with his constituents and would prefer to focus on the petty party politics of Washington, D.C."
Colin Allred spoke to supporters during an election night party at Ozona Grill and Bar on May 22 in Dallas Tuesday. Allred is running for the 32nd Congressional District against incumbent Pete Sessions.
(Andy Jacobsohn/Staff Photographer)
The race, which could be one of the most watched House contests in the nation, highlights the extraordinary struggle in Dallas County between Democrats and Republicans on a national, state and local level.
Dallas County is key battleground for Democrats in November general election
Along with the congressional contest, Dallas County is the scene of at least eight critical statehouse races involving Republican incumbents, as well as one Texas Senate race — Democrat Nathan Johnson's challenge of Republican incumbent Sen. Don Huffines.
Democrats are also trying to snatch back the Dallas County district attorney's office from Republican Faith Johnson, who did not attend the GOP convention in San Antonio. Johnson's strategy includes appealing to Democratic voters, particularly in the church communities of southern Dallas.
Dallas County Republican Party chairwoman Missy Shorey said the party is taking the race between Sessions and Allred seriously because party members know it's going to be an intense competition.
"We're going to uncover the fact that Colin Allred is essentially a socialist in disguise," she said. "Get past the charisma. Get past the stargazing. If you really want Dallas to continue to be a city of prosperity, then Pete Sessions is your man."
Allred said the comments were nothing more than political rhetoric.
"As our campaign continues to speak with families at the door and on the phone, it is clear they are tired of being dismissed with political rhetoric and are ready to replace their failed elected leaders."
Trump casts big shadow over Texas Republicans, for now
Carol Donovan, Dallas County Democratic Party chairwoman, said voters are ready to oust lawmakers who support Trump's policies.
"Never before has a U.S. president cared so little about the welfare of Americans," she said. "Most Republican congressional leaders, including Pete Sessions, stand by and take no action to protect their constituents."
Losing the 32nd Congressional District would be a blow to local and national Republicans. Sessions has been one of the biggest supporters of the local party. His fall would signal that Republicans are losing ground on Democrats in what's been described as the bluest county in Texas.
Colin Allred beats Lillian Salerno for chance to unseat incumbent Republican Pete Sessions
Sessions said the choice is clear, particularly since Trump and Republicans, he contends, have improved the economy.
"If we work together, we win. If we don't, we might not," Sessions told delegates at a luncheon featuring congressional leaders. "If anybody wants to have a Democrat that supports completely what Nancy Pelosi stands for, you're going to get it, but I say we're going to beat him. We're going to win."
The congressman, in his interview with The News, also warned about returning to the policies of former President Barack Obama.
"We've shown what full employment looks like. And we have seen what it does not look like, with Barack Obama and despair and drugs and communities left out of the fight, communities that gave up," he said. "We are for a system that does great things for the American people."
Later, he discussed his approach to campaigning.
"I've got to go win it every time," he said. "I feel that way every time, even when I don't have an opponent."
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