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Intrigue in House primaries in Texas
By: Alex Isenstadt
May 29, 2012 04:32 AM EDT

The oldest member of the House faces one of his toughest reelection fights in three decades against a tea party-backed upstart. A former Democratic congressman swept away by the 2010 Republican tidal wave makes a play for his old seat. And an up-and-coming, 37-year-old Latino state legislator with a Harvard law degree sets his sights on Washington.

There’s no shortage of intrigue as Texas voters head to the polls Tuesday for a series of House primaries that will help decide the makeup of the Lone Star State’s newly-expanded congressional delegation.

In the two most closely-watched contests, veteran Reps. Ralph Hall, a Republican, and Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat, are trying to ward off stiff challenges. If either loses or fails to dispatch his opponent, it would be fresh evidence that – after the spring defeats of Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar and Illinois Rep. Don Manzullo — years of service in Washington remain more of a liability than a boon with voters this year.

The contests follow a contentious and drawn-out Texas redistricting process, which eventually wound up before the U.S. Supreme Court. Texas added four districts due largely to an explosion in Hispanic population over the last decade, expanding its delegation from 32 seats to 36 seats. Both parties will pick nominees in each of the new districts.

Democrats are also choosing a nominee in the high-profile race against GOP Rep. Francisco Canseco, a vulnerable freshman.

If no candidate receives a majority in any of the races, the top two finishers will compete in a July 31 runoff.

Here’s POLITICO’s look at the Texas congressional primaries to watch.

4th District

Hall, a 16-term congressman and dean of the Texas delegation, hasn’t won reelection with less than 58 percent of the vote.

Yet there is reason to believe that this year could be different for Hall, who at 89 is the oldest member of the House.

Steve Clark, Hall’s lead primary opponent, picked up 30 percent of the vote in his 2010 race against the incumbent. Clark, a tea party-aligned former telecommunications company executive, has spent around $100,000 out of his own wallet.

Clark has also received backup from the Campaign for Primary Accountability, a nonpartisan super PAC that has been targeting members of both parties in primaries. It has dropped about $165,000 on ads attacking Hall. In a not-so-subtle dig at Hall’s age, one recent TV spot from the group reminds voters that Jimmy Carter was president when Hall arrived in Congress.

Campaign Photos




For Immediate Release
May 14, 2012

Contact: Steve Clark
972-342-5629 Voice

Open Letter to the citizens of Congressional District 4:

Today is the first day of Early Voting. Steve Clark filed his application and filing fee for placement of his name on the ballot of the Texas May 29 Primary Election. Steve Clark is a "Tea Party" Republican. As many may recall, Steve had received 30% of the Republican Primary vote for the 2010 Election to the House of Representatives. A longtime friend and supporter of Ralph Hall, Steve was dismayed at the erroneous and hurtful personal attacks from a sitting Congressman. That seat belongs to the People of the 4th Congressional District of Texas and belongs to no one person. I passionately embrace term limits for those in the Congress. Ralph has represented the citizens of Northeast Texas in various capacities beginning in 1949 (2 years prior to the first episode running of "I Love Lucy"). Surely, we can stop asking Ralph to shoulder that burden of "heavy lifting". I respectfully submit that there is always the possibility that there might be others in Texas Congressional District 4 that could fill the office of U.S. Representative. The good citizens of the 4th Congressional District of Texas usually refer to themselves as Americans, before partisans. By and large they are a people of faith that do not hide from a public awareness of having been "born again", though they do not need to wear it on their sleeve. Faith is carried in your heart and witnessed by your words and deeds. As a Christian, I forgive Ralph for all the negative attacks on my name, reputation, and life's work. My magnetic north is Faith, Family, and Country. I am running now, because the urgency of the challenges facing our nation requires extraordinary efforts, just short of a revolution by new people, but always based on the Constitutional precepts that have kept this Republic strong. Today, our Nation faces dire issues, not the least of which is the economy. We cannot keep sending the same professional politicians to Washington and expect different results. The incumbent is a well-loved citizen of CD-04 and has been an outstanding servant to the constituents. However, desperate times require the vigor and energy of a candidate that is more concerned about saving our Republic, rather than obtaining a 16th Term of Office where he would turn 91 years of age.

With six children and two grandchildren, my wife, Marlene, and I are more focused on the 'next generation' rather than the 'next election'. The incumbent has never voted for, Term Limits for incumbents. During the last election he "drafted" a Bill that was not reported out and importantly Ralph and other current Representatives were EXEMPT from Term Limits under his draft legislation. That way he could "claim" he was for Term Limits (although it wouldn't apply to him.)

Voters that know we are facing many problems also know that Term Limits would help eliminate those that foster the go along to get along system of incumbents taking care of each other. You cannot be FOR Term Limits and also vote to send an 89 year old back for a 17th Term.

Our Nation is broke. We need jobs. The border is not closed. The unborn are still not safe. They want to take our guns. They cut Medicare for Obamacare. Republican incumbents are being replaced by real conservatives across the country. It is time to replace someone who was a democrat until 2004.

I, Steve Clark, pledge to you that I will lay my body down to stop the crazy spending and the assault on our Liberty. I need your help. I ask for your vote.

Please contact your friends and social networks. We CAN make a difference when we want to. Now is the time. This is the race. Remember, this is America.

For Immediate Release
December 31, 2009

Contact: Steve Clark
972-342-5629 Voice

Open Letter to the citizens of Congressional District 4:

On Thursday, December 31, 2009, Steve Clark filed his application and filing fee for placement of his name on the ballot of the Texas March Primary Election. Steve Clark is a “Tea Party” Republican. As many may recall, Steve had initially announced his candidacy for the 2004 Election to the House of Representatives, but withdrew his ballot after the President and Dennis Hastert convinced the then 11 term Congressman Ralph Hall to change from A Democrat to a Republican.  A longtime friend and supporter of Ralph Hall, we agree on almost everything with the notable exception that I passionately embrace term limits for those in the Congress.  Ralph has represented the citizens of Northeast Texas in various capacities beginning in 1949 (2 years prior to the first episode running of “I Love Lucy”).  Surely, we can stop asking Ralph to shoulder that burden of  “heavy lifting”. I respectfully submit that there is always the possibility that there might be others in Texas Congressional District 4 that could fill the office of U.S. Representative.  The good citizens of the 4th Congressional District of Texas usually refer to themselves as Americans, before partisans.  By and large they are a people of faith that do not hide from the public awareness of having been “born again” followers of The Carpenter.

My magnetic north is Faith, Family, and Country. I am running now, because the urgency of the challenges facing our nation requires extraordinary efforts, just short of a revolution by new people, but always based on the Constitutional precepts that have kept this Republic strong.  Today, our Nation faces dire issues, not the least of which is the economy.  We cannot keep sending the same professional politicians to Washington and expect different results. The incumbent is a well-loved citizen of CD-04 and has been an outstanding servant to the constituents.  However, desperate times require the vigor and energy of a candidate that is more concerned about saving our Republic, rather than obtaining a 15th Term of Office.  With six children and two grandchildren, my wife, Marlene, and I are more focused on the ‘next generation’ rather than the ‘next election’.  The incumbent has never sponsored, or voted for, Term Limits for incumbents.  In fairness, very few in Congress do indeed support such a measure.

I am not running ‘against’ the incumbent, but running with Ralph Hall.  He has chopped more wood on behalf of this great Nation than can be expected by anyone. I am not only seeking your vote, but his.

Links to Articles:

From The Rockwall News, www.therockwallnews.com

"Former AT&T executive to challenge Ralph Hall, says time for change is now"

http://therockwallnews.com/2010/0110/government/executive

From The Dallas Morning News, www.dallasnews.com:

"Hall challenger Steve Clark not afraid to spend"

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/state/stories/DN-clark_08met.ART.State.Edition1.4ba909c.html

 
 
 

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