Vice President Pence campaigns in Texas, tours hurricane damaged areas

Vice President Mike Pence is moving around the country, working as a strategic partner with President Trump to get out the vote in the upcoming November mid-term elections. With 77 days left before election day is here, an aggressive push is underway to try to hold the Republican majority in the House and the Senate.

Pence landed in Houston on Air Force Two Wednesday with Rep. John Culberson (R-CD07) and his wife, Belinda. Culberson is in a tight race – his first such difficult re-election since he was elected in 2000 – and is no doubt pleased to have the Vice President’s active support. His race is now listed as a toss-up by Real Clear Politics. The trip got off to a bit of a bumpy start as Mrs. Culberson exited Air Force Two. To be honest, I can picture myself in her position quite easily. I once fractured a tibia as I watered our Christmas tree. Fortunately, she wasn’t hurt and the Vice President responded quickly to help her back on her feet.

Full disclosure: I reside in Congressman Culberson’s district. Belinda Culberson is a member of the same Republican women’s club as I am. Congressman Culberson’s mother was a charter member of the club, back in 1961.

As it is the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, Pence toured the coastal town of Rockport. This community felt devastating damage from Hurricane Harvey. He was able to see rebuilding efforts and participate in a briefing from local officials and Governor Abbott.

Next, he traveled to Houston. He attended Rep. Ted Poe’s annual tribute to veterans and service members. Poe is retiring and his seat is targeted by the Democrats this cycle, as is Culberson’s. Former SEAL Dan Crenshaw is the GOP nominee for the seat.

Pence remains in Houston Thursday to speak at a fundraising luncheon for Culberson and then goes on to New Orleans to fundraise with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

Then he travels to Houston to attend a fundraiser to help boost Culberson, a Houston Republican considered to be in one of the hottest re-election races in the nation. Culberson, first elected to Congress in 2000, is facing a challenge by Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher in the 7th Congressional District, which is based largely in West Houston.

Culberson’s race is important. Not only as it pertains to helping keep the Republican majority in the House but the race is also important to Texas, in general. Harris County is still considered a ‘red’ county and the largest such county in the country. However, with the city of Houston solidly in the liberal column, Harris County has lots of purple leanings now. The county – suburban and rural – has seen lots of growth and an increase in independent voters. Culberson’s race results will affect the down-ballot candidates. It’s important to Republicans to keep the Republicans who are currently in county offices in place.

Democrats are waging a strong battle for Texas voters this cycle, an effort that has very slowly grown for several cycles now. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in Houston last week for fundraising and campaigning for candidates. Do I think Texas will go blue this cycle? No. But some seats have a likelihood to go to Democrats and that is alarming to those of us accustomed to living in the country’s largest red state. I’ve lived in this district for the entirety of Culberson’s House career and it is important that a longtime Republican district (The city of Houston’s most conservative district) remain so.

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David Strom 8:31 AM on October 05, 2022