The task that is before the Republican Party is not just to secure reelection for President Donald Trump but also to retake the House. When the Democrats took the House in 2018, mostly with a slew of moderate sounding candidates, all sorts of headaches ensued, not the least of which was the impeachment farce.
If the House falls back into GOP hands, that sort of nonsense will be put aside, and Congress will become more willing to cooperate with Trump’s second-term agenda.
Wesley Hunt, an African American Army veteran running in the 7th Congressional District of Texas, is part of the Republican effort to retake the House. Hunt is a combat veteran, a graduate of West Point, and, as his campaign website suggests, a conventional conservative.
Hunt, on the strength of his tireless campaigning and with endorsements from Senator Ted Cruz and President Trump, won the right to run for Congress outright during Super Tuesday without having to enter a runoff.
He will face Lizzie Fletcher, a former corporate lawyer, who has occupied the seat since she toppled John Culberson, one of the appropriation subcommittee chairs, in 2018.
If his victory statement is any indication, Hunt intends to take no prisoners as he goes after Fletcher.
“Let me be clear. A vote for Lizzie is a vote for Bernie and the Pelosi agenda. Lizzie Fletcher ran promising to provide independent leadership. She’s broken her promise. Instead, Fletcher voted to make Pelosi speaker, voted with Pelosi nearly 100 percent of the time, and she even voted for impeachment. And Lizzie Fletcher will support all of Bernie Sanders’ agenda too, from the Green New Deal to eliminating private health insurance and decriminalizing illegal immigration.”
The tying of a former corporate lawyer whose clients included oil and has companies to Bernie Sanders and the Green New Deal is rough stuff. Fletcher has broken with one of the parts of the Green New Deal by opposing a bill filed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to ban hydraulic fracking, a thing that would devastate the Texas economy and, more important from Fletcher’s point of view, anger her voters and her campaign contributors.
Perhaps Hunt’s strategy is the same one that was once expressed by Lyndon Johnson. He just wants to hear her deny the charges.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a SuperPAC dedicated to winning a Republican majority in the House, was ebullient about Hunt’s outright victory during the primary. “His win guarantees this race is now one of the best pick up opportunities for Republicans in 2020.”
The aerospace and science communities will be looking at the Hunt vs Fletcher race with great interest. During the 2018 campaign, Michael Bloomberg’s SuperPac ran an ad on Fletcher’s behalf mocking then Rep. John Culberson’s support for NASA’s Europa Clipper mission.
The ad suggested, maliciously and falsely, that Culberson was more concerned about “the waters of Europa” where many scientists think life may reside rather than “the waters of Houston.” The biblical floods that ravaged Houston during Hurricane Harvey were a fresh, raw memory, so the ad was particularly effective.
Forbes Magazine captured the angst that the ad and Fletcher’s subsequent victory caused in the science and aerospace communities.
“I raise this topic because I see a PAC supporting Lizzie Fletcher, a congressional candidate in the Texas 7th district, has launched an anti-space campaign television ad. This attack on John Culberson, the Chair of the House appropriations subcommittee for science, is so childishly produced that any educated person might think it doesn’t warrant a response.
However, when a serious candidate from the Houston area can go on the attack against a NASA program and get the backing of the local paper, everyone in the space and science communities had better wake up. This sort of politicking must be firmly confronted, least it gains traction among the campaign staff of otherwise well-meaning candidates from either side.”
NASA and space are not likely to be cutting issues in the Hunt vs Fletcher fight for the 7th Congressional District seat. The issues are likely to be immigration, the environment, health care, and Fletcher’s performance in Congress.
However, if Fletcher falls in November, a lot of champagne will flow and high fives given in certain quarters who value science and space exploration and have been smarting ever since Fletcher won by attacking what they care about. Likely they will not be the only ones who would celebrate the end of her political career.