Thursday, April 25, 2024

Coveted Hot Seat: The race for Texas’ 32nd Congressional District

By Allen R. Gray
NDG Contributing Writer

The announcement that Texas’ 32nd Congressional District incumbent Colin Allred would be making a bid for Ted Cruz’s Senatorial chair created a field of hopeful replacements that was a plentiful as the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination.

The redistricting of the 32nd District in 2021 produced a visual rendering that resembles a Rorschach ink blot drawing for which there is no definitive interpretation. That mapping is what causes it to be coveted by hopeful Democratic politicians, because the district that was once solidly Republican suddenly shifted its color from red to Democratic blue.

In 2013, the district was 52% White, 25% Hispanic (white and other), and 12% Black. The 2021 redistricting caused the 32nd District to become a district that made whites a little less than 50% of the district residents, Hispanic became approximately 20% or residents, and Blacks became 14% of the total residents.

The alluring value of the 32nd District is that with its boundaries—which zigzag from southernmost parts of Balch Springs to northern reaches of Plano—are jerrymandered in a way that makes it a sure win for some deserving Democratic candidate. That was not always the case.

Republican Pete Sessions was the 32nd Congressional District incumbent from 2003 to 2019, that was until Sessions was ousted by upstart Allred in the 2018 general election. Allred’s surprise victory caused that drastic shift in the political hue.

 

As U.S. Rep. Colin Allred prepares to square off against longtime U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Democrats are lining up to try to keep the district on the blue side of the political aisle.
(Photo: Dan Dennis / Unsplash)

All totaled, there were at least fifteen hats tossed into the ring for the March 5, 2024, Democratic and Republican primaries.

  • Clayton Chapman (Independent)
  • Callie Butcher (Democrat)
  • Raja Chaudhry (Democrat)
  • Alex Cornwallis (Democrat)
  • Kevin Felder (Democrat)
  • Julie Johnson (Democrat)
  • Zachariah Manning (Democrat)
  • Jan McDowell (Democrat)
  • Justin Moore (Democrat)
  • Christopher Panayiotou (Democrat)
  • Brian Williams (Democrat)
    *Plus, a field of four perspective Republican challengers

At one point, even State Representative Rhetta Bowers set her sights on the Congressional seat. Then she pulled out of the race almost immediately.

When the dust had settled, only four remained.

For a recent primary debate in Richardson, there were but four remaining candidates who proved they had the plan, the bank and the cache that qualified them to participate.  The results made for a highly diverse mixture of political hopefuls.

The four remaining candidates’ response to a Ballotpedia survey and/or their campaign website provided insight as to their background and those issues central to their campaign.

Callie Butcher

Butcher is a native Dallasite who earned a law degree in 2014 from the University of Texas School of Law.

If Butcher’s bid for the vacated seat is successful, Butcher will become Congress’ first transgender member.

Butcher’s key achievement goals for the 32nd Congressional District constituents are:

  1. People over Power
  2. Medicare for All and Bodily Autonomy
  3. LGBTQ+ Rights Now

Julie Johnson

Johnson earned a law degree from the University of Houston.  Johnson is currently the Texas House of Representatives Democratic incumbent for District 115.

Johnson is the most experienced politician in the race.

Johnson’s key achievement goals for the 32nd Congressional District constituents are:

  1. Reinstating Reproductive Rights
  2. Stricter Gun Control laws
  3. Quashing the extremist agenda of hate and divisiveness
  4. Reduction in the Cost of Prescription Drugs and securing the Affordable Care Act

Justin Moore

Moore is a native Dallasite who earned a law degree at SMU’s Dedman School of Law, and who has experience as a Dallas County District Attorney and a Civil Rights attorney.

Moore’s key achievement goals for the 32nd Congressional District constituents are:

  1. Equal rights for all Texans
  2. Expansion of access to affordable Healthcare
  3. Addressing the issues of Climate Control
  4. Providing Quality Education for all Texans
  5. Community Engagement

Dr. Brian Williams

Dr. Williams, an Air Force veteran, earned a medical degree in 2001 from the University of South Florida College of Medicine before completing general surgery residency training at Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  Dr. Williams of new to politics, although, he has experience as a congressional health policy advisor.

If his bid is successful Dr. Williams will become the first trauma surgeon in the U.S. Congress.

Dr. Williams’ key achievement goals for the 32nd Congressional District constituents are:

  1. Subduing the “Epidemic of Gun Violence” and Advocating for Gun Safety
  2. Building Safer and Healthier Communities across Texas and the nation
  3. Providing Healthcare to Americans who do not have access
  4. Addressing “Extremist Republicans” on basic rights

An analysis of the Texas 32nd District following the 2020 redistricting and presidential election showed that President Joe Biden claimed 65.7% of the votes, while Donald Trump claimed 32.7% of the vote. So, the winner of the four-way battle for the Democratic nomination is presumably a sure winner against a Republican challenger.

If after the March 5th Democratic primary, no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will advance to a May 28th primary runoff.

(Editor’s Note: This article has been edited from the original printed version to retract comments attributed to candidate Julie Johnson in regards to the withdrawal of a previous candidate and that she was previously a Republican. Johnson’s campaign asserts that she never publicly made these comments, and has been a Texas Democrat from the beginning of her political journey. The story has been edited to reflect this, and is being reprinted in the Feb. 22, 2024 issue.)

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