Congressional District 7 (CD7) is a sleeping giant for Harris County Republicans. Over the last few election cycles, local Democrats seemed to acknowledge this Republican stronghold by not challenging Congressman John Culberson. After CD7 voters chose Hillary over Trump in the 2016 general election, Dems have a renewed sense of entitlement. Republicans see this challenge from the Democrats as an opportunity to turn out westside Republicans in a congressional race. Republican John Culberson has held the seat since Bill Archer retired in 2000.
CD7 is the ancestral home of the Harris County Republican Party. This district has been the congressional home of President George Herbert Walker Bush and Congressman Bill Archer, legendary Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. CD7 covers River Oaks, Memorial, and Tanglewood. Many influential Republican heavy hitters reside in this district (e.g., the Hotzes) and, as such, every major political fight in Harris County has started in CD7.
Historically, CD7 polling locations were the go to locales for all Republican candidates – think St. Martin’s Episcopal Church [Pct. 234]. The popularity of ballot by mail and early voting has slowed down polling location campaigning, but I cannot think of a countywide republican elected official that I haven’t seen at St. Martin’s over the years. This is the traditional heart of the Harris County Republican Party.
Now, CD7 Dems are involved in a heavily contested Democratic Primary with two women trying to out liberal one another. If you think that there is a lot of infighting in the Republican Party, well, take a look at the Dems in this race. This runoff election is between Lizzy “Borden” Fletcher and Laura Moser. Fletcher represents the Clinton wing of the party while Moser represents the Sanders wing. The race is controversial because national Dems have involved themselves in the election. So, think about that – national Dems think they have a chance in CD7.
Moser’s husband, a former Obama White House videographer, works at a firm called Revolution Messaging and they are running Moser’s campaign following their work on the Bernie Sanders campaign. Meanwhile, Fletcher is touting her longtime advocacy for Planned Parenthood.
Importantly, even with a fiercely contested Democratic Primary race, Republicans voting in the 2018 CD7 primary outnumbered the Dems. CD7’s GOP primary drew 38,032 voters, even though it was a sleepy affair in which Culberson faced just one unknown challenger. In contrast, 33,176 people came out to vote in the Democratic Primary, a hotly contested seven-way race with at least four well-financed contenders.
CD7 has long been a sleeping giant. The last real contest for the seat was launched by Democrat Michael Skelly in 2008. Skelly spent a considerable amount of his own money trying to unseat Culberson in an Obama wave, yet Culberson bested him by a strong ten points. Culberson 2008 campaign drove Republicans to the polls, which helped to support countywide Republicans such as District Attorney Pat Lykos and County Judge Ed Emmett. The Democrats learned a valuable lesson in 2008, or so we thought.
John Culberson is the son of a political consultant and strategist and knows how to campaign. This should make Harris County Republicans smile. Well, except for Steve Radack who firmly dislikes Culberson. You see, even without the support of Radack, Culberson wins every time.
Culberson is tireless and thinks of nothing else when challenged. He will give westside Republicans a reason and message to come to the polls in November.