Newspaper article Roll Call

Holding Texas? 14th District Might Be Challenge for the GOP : Roll Call Politics

Newspaper article Roll Call

Holding Texas? 14th District Might Be Challenge for the GOP : Roll Call Politics

Article excerpt

Texas Republicans are ringing the alarm over a House race that had seemed a safe bet to remain Republican.

The reason for worry is the third-quarter fundraising and spending totals that recently came to light in the race for Texas' 14th district. Former Rep. Nick Lampson (D) both outraised and has far more in cash on hand than the favorite to win the seat, state Rep. Randy Weber (R).

"I'd say there is a panic button that somebody, somewhere is hitting," a Texas GOP consultant said.

Lampson outraised Weber by about $50,000 in the third quarter, but the greater concern is that the Democrat had about $422,000 in cash on hand, while Weber only had $55,000.

This is an open seat race to replace retiring Rep. Ron Paul (R). It is without doubt Republican territory. Redistricting put much of Lampson's old Democratic stronghold, Beaumont, into the southeastern Texas district. The intent of Republican mapmakers was to overwhelm those Democrats with the Republican areas of the Houston suburbs.

Even before Lampson opted to get into the race, Democrats conceded that while it was a Republican seat, he was the one candidate who could push it into their column. The argument was that Lampson, a native and favorite son of Beaumont, makes this seat competitive.

The Lampson campaign and national Democrats have stepped up their arguments in recent weeks that the race is competitive.

Texas Republicans scoffed at the notion. They even wrote off Lampson's history as a strong fundraiser. The thinking was that even huge financial hauls had not saved him in past tough races.

Even local Democrats were bearish on Lampson as late as last week, saying that his homebase areas have been trending Republican. One longtime Democratic Beaumont voter went as far as to say that Lampson didn't stand "a snowball chance."

But on Tuesday, Republicans admitted they were concerned. …

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