Despite the Democratic establishment’s best efforts to end progressive candidate Laura Moser’s chance at representing Texas’s seventh congressional district, the former journalist and political activist gathered enough support in Tuesday’s primary election to make it into a run-off race in May.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) released a memo last month containing opposition research attacking Moser—a move that ultimately appears to have raised her national profile and galvanized progressives in support of her campaign.
Among other things, the DCCC’s document accused Moser of being a “Washington insider” who had criticized Texas and reluctantly moved there to win a House seat, basing its claims on an out-of-context quotation from an article Moser had written in the Washingtonian.
Speaking to Vox, DCCC spokesperson Meredith Kelly characterized Moser as “a truly disqualified general election candidate that would eliminate our ability to flip a district blue,” but the support she gathered after the memo was released suggests otherwise.
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After the memo was released—just after early voting began in Texas—the progressive group started by Bernie Sanders’ supporters, Our Revolution, endorsed Moser despite her support for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Moser’s campaign then raised more than $86,000 in just three days, as progressives slammed the DCCC for attempting to meddle in the primary rather than allowing Texas Democrats to choose their favored candidate.
“I would rather not have been attacked by my own party and have not had the money, any day,” Moser told the Texas Tribune as the donations poured in. “But I’m glad to see that people are tired of politics as usual. People are tired of bringing down a candidate who has run a totally positive campaign. And there are more of us than there are of them.”
Moser, who founded the anti-Trump cell phone app Daily Action, which sends followers daily tips for resisting President Donald Trump’s agenda, promoted a universal healthcare program and campaign finance reform during her campaign, as well as stricter gun control legislation.
Moser won more than 24 percent of the vote on Tuesday, while attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, who won the endorsement of Emily’s List, the political action committee that works to elect Democratic women and is a firm member of the party establishment, gathered about 29 percent.
The AFL-CIO came out against Pannill Fletcher over her law firm’s representation of a cleaning company against immigrant employees. The firm allegedly “hired investigators who intimidated a number of immigrant worker potential witnesses.”
The two Democrats will now fight for the opportunity to run against Republican Rep. John Culberson, with the run-off election set for May 22.