I no longer live in the 13th Congressional District of Texas, but I remain interested in the political dynamics of that sprawling region of the state.
The upcoming Republican Party primary runoff election is the latest event to trigger my interest. Retired Navy Admiral/Dr. Ronny Jackson is running against Josh Winegarner for the congressional seat being vacated by longtime GOP Rep. Mac Thornberry.
Winegarner finished first during the primary in a huge field of GOP contenders, but didn’t get enough votes to win the nomination outright; so he’s facing the second place finisher, Jackson.
This is getting interesting. Jackson has received the endorsement of a group called Club for Growth, which an Amarillo political action committee, Amarillo Matters, describes as a group that “raises and spends a lot of money on political races, mostly pitting Republicans against other Republican candidates.”
They’re outsiders, according to Amarillo Matters. Club for Growth has no discernible interest in the 13th Congressional District, except to help elect candidates who hue to its right-wing national agenda. Amarillo Matters compares this outfit to Empower Texans, an Austin-based right-wing advocacy group that does the same thing. Empower Texans, in 2018, sought to unseat state Sen. Kel Seliger and state Rep. Four Price, both of Amarillo … but got its melon thumped by voters in Seliger’s Senate district and Price’s House district.
Amarillo Matters is backing Winegarner, contending that their guy is a locally grown candidate who knows the district. Jackson is a carpetbagger, having never lived within the 13th District.
Amarillo Matters writes: You might remember the name Chris Ekstrom. He’s a multi-millionaire from Dallas who spent more than $1 million trying to buy our congressional seat in the primary election. He was one of fourteen candidates that Winegarner beat by steep margins in March. In that election, Ekstrom received an endorsement from a nation-wide organization named Club for Growth.
So now this outfit is at it again. It seeks to meddle where it has no real interest or concern. Don’t misunderstand me on this point: I don’t really care whether Winegarner gets the GOP nod. He’s a right-winger, too, and not precisely my kinda congressman. At least, though, he knows the district — unlike the retired naval officer and physician who once treated Presidents Obama and Trump.
Amarillo Matters has done a good job of alerting voters of the 13th Congressional District about what’s going on … supposedly in their name. Stay alert, my former neighbors.