As Sen. Bernie Sanders injects himself into the Texas political landscape with a swing through the state this weekend, the 2016 presidential candidate blasted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for smearing one of the party’s own candidates, Laura Moser, before Tuesday’s Longhorn State primaries.
Sanders found it “outrageous” that the DCCC would release negative research on Moser before her crowded primary battle with other Democrats in Texas’ 7th District, the Vermont independent told the Texas Tribune.
“That’s just not acceptable. I suspect that it backfired on them, and I hope they don’t do it again,” Sanders said.
Moser earned a spot in the May 22 primary runoff after capturing 24 percent of the vote Tuesday. She’ll face attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, who led the field with 29 percent of the vote. EMILY’s List backed Fletcher.
The two Democrats will face off for the right to take on Republican incumbent Rep. John Culberson in a seat Democrats are targeting this year after Hillary Clinton carried it by 1 point in 2016, per Roll Call’s 2018 Election Guide.Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilt Republican.
The DCCC is openly rejecting Moser. It released opposition research a little more than a week before the primary that accused her of being a “Washington insider.” The committee also alleged that Moser’s husband has benefited from her campaign spending since he works at Revolution Messaging, which her campaign has paid for online consulting and advertising.
“We are working every day at the DCCC to win the 24 seats that we need to take back the House,” DCCC communications director Meredith Kelly said in February explaining the thinking behind the opposition research dump.
“Towards that goal we’ve always noted that we may need to get involved in primaries if there’s a general election candidate that is disqualified and would not allow them to have that fighting chance to flip the district,” Kelly said.
Moser criticized the move in a statement after the DCCC release.
“We’re used to tough talk here in Texas, but it’s disappointing to hear it from Washington operatives trying to tell Texans what to do,” Moser said. “These kind of tactics are why people hate politics.”
“The days when party bosses picked the candidates in their smoke filled rooms are over,” she said. “DC needs to let Houston vote.”
Moser is a former journalist and activist who started a text messaging service to engage people resisting President Donald Trump and the GOP Congress.