The Texas Tribune held its annual politics-focused festival last week with high-profile speakers including one Sen. Ted Cruz.
But another featured speaker, Colin Allred, U.S. Rep. from Texas’ 32nd District, is looking to take Cruz down. Allred is a fourth generation Texan, son of a single mom school teacher, and a former NFL linebacker-turned-civil rights attorney who worked in President Barack Obama’s administration. When asked why he’d risk such a budding political career to challenge an incumbent red state Republican, he cited his 7 point victory over a 22 year incumbent in the House after being given a 10% chance. He said he doesn’t see it as a risk. He has two boys and wants to leave the world, and Texas in particular, a better place for them.
Allred’s scheduled one-on-one conversation would have been canceled had his vote been needed to help avert a government shutdown that was spurred, according to the congressman, by the radical right wing of the GOP, who seem intent on holding up everything from military promotions to each and every budget negotiation that comes down the pike. But no such call or compromise came, and Rep. Allred used his time slot at the Paramount – a venue large enough to seat the many people buzzing about a potential showdown between the young upstart and Cruz – to paint his potential 2024 rival as one of the most radical members of Congress, pointing to Cruz as the first Senator to object to certification of Joe Biden as President/the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021.
Soon after that objection, as Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, the chamber went on lockdown and Allred was texting his wife – months pregnant at the time – to say “Whatever happens, I love you.” Then the Capitol Police whisked him and other members of Congress to safety, until they were able to return and finish certifying the election over the continued objections of other senators.
Asked if things were different on Capitol Hill after January 6, he said that for the first 48 hours they seemed to be, especially when both House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell laid the blame for the attack on Trump. But soon after, Allred says the former president’s enablers backslid and tried to gaslight the country about secret government ops and Antifa, pushing for zero accountability.
“We cannot get into the system now,” Allred implored, “when an election doesn’t go your way and you just try to attack the system, you try to tear it down. We just cannot get into that. That’s one of the reasons Ted Cruz has to lose in this election.” And many hopeful hands came together.
Then he drew a stark contrast between himself, recently named as one of the most bipartisan members of the House, and a radical obstructionist who voted against the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the Chips Act, and against Sen. John Cornyn’s push for the first gun safety legislation in 30 years.
Allred said that the post-Roe world in Texas is a disaster, where victims of rape and incest have nowhere to go; that our public spaces are becoming memorials for mass shootings; that Cruz cares more about his podcasts and photo ops at the border than working toward common-sense solutions in D.C.; that this is not the Texas he knows or wants to leave to his children.
“The task for us here is to be engaged and involved in our democracy. [Negligence] is resulting in extreme results for us across the board and multiple elections and it’s a huge threat to our state,” Allred said. “[I want] to make sure every Texan knows the differences in this race, what I want to do and where we can go together.”
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