The Chron gets around to another race it ignored in May, the Democratic primary in CD07.
The winner of the Democratic primary runoff for Texas’ U.S. House 7th District will face quite a battle against incumbent Rep. John Culberson on this comfortably Republican turf. Challengers for these sorts of safe seats have a dual duty: Try to win a race in unfriendly territory, but also lay groundwork to help future candidates. From that perspective, there is something to be said for Lissa Squires’ approach of taking the strongest position possible and unapologetically charging forward. But while her anti-corporate rhetoric may help rally the most liberal members of the Democratic base, it is neither a winning strategy nor the way to best represent Houston. But Squires’ moderate Democrat opponent, James Cargas, seems excellently suited to reflect the district’s energy industry.
In the midst of our natural gas boom, this founding member of the Oil Patch Democrats could be a strong voice for the Houston economy, showing that the oil and gas industry isn’t merely a Republican institution, but a broad and important economic driver that deserves attention from the entire political spectrum.
And even if he doesn’t win in the general election, putting forth a candidate like Cargas can remind voters in the district that there are plenty of Texas Democrats who support fracking, will bring federal grants to the Texas Medical Center, and put Houston before party.
I’m going to make the Arrogant Pundit’s Assumption that the bit about putting Houston before party is a reference to the one issue that interests me the most in this race, which is funding for Metro and the University line. You won’t find a more egregious example of putting petty partisan and personal interests ahead of the city’s needs than you will with Culberson’s neverending vendetta against the will of the voters. Since I criticized both candidates for their lack of noise about this, I am compelled to note that Cargas has been much more vocal about this lately. For reasons I can’t fathom given what a hanging curve this ought to be for any Democrat, Lissa Squiers still has nothing about this issue that I can find on her webpage or Facebook page. I don’t get it. I have no opinion on this race beyond that – I remain grateful that the redistricting gods have spared me from being “represented” by Culberson. I hope some day soon the rest of Houston will be so lucky.