Ex-Prosecutor Headed to 109th Congress
Former federal prosector Mike McCaul (R) used a combination of personal wealth and powerful political endorsements to win the 10th district runoff in Texas last Tuesday, a victory that ensures he will be the next Congressman in the seat.
McCaul gave $1.5 million from his own pocket to the race, a personal contribution dwarfed by the $3 million his runoff opponent — businessman Ben Streusand — loaned his campaign.
The vast majority of McCaul’s financial contribution came in the form of a line of credit on his half of the $3 million home he and his wife bought with cash in 2001.
Despite being outspent in the Houston and Austin media markets, which represent the two population centers at opposite ends of this barbell-shaped district, McCaul was able to carry both areas in the runoff due in no small part to the Republican officials publicly backing him.
Gov. Rick Perry (R) as well as Texas GOP Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn and former Sen. Phil Gramm (R) all weighed in on McCaul’s behalf. Former President George H.W. Bush held a fundraiser for McCaul in Houston during the runoff.
Streusand’s campaign alleged that the involvement of these elected officials had much more to do with McCaul’s father-in-law — Clear Channel Communications CEO Lowry Mays — than with the candidate himself. But the endorsements proved effective regardless.
McCaul won with 52 percent in Harris County, which was Streusand’s Houston geographic base, and by a much more convincing 73 percent in Travis County, where Austin is located.
The result was a stunning 63 percent to 37 percent victory for McCaul, who five weeks earlier had trailed Streusand in primary voting 28 percent to 24 percent. The new district was created in the state’s latest round of redistricting last fall.
No Democrats even filed for this strongly Republican seat. University of Texas math professor Lorenzo Sadun (D) is running a write-in candidacy and there is also a Libertarian candidate on the ballot.
Prior to his Congressional bid, McCaul served as the head of the terrorism and national security division in the western judicial district of Texas.
He also spent time in Washington, D.C. working in the Justice Department.