Texas’ runoff election is about a month away and without question, the most interesting and controversial race is the Republican congressional contest between retired healthcare executive Renee Swann and former Congressman Pete Sessions, who both appear to check off all the right boxes for the Republican-leaning electorate in Texas’ 17th congressional district.
Politicos believe that Rep. Sessions should easily win the race, but the COVID-19 bug has made things a little uncomfortable for everyone including both Swann and Sessions. Campaign fundraising has been hit hard across the nation.
In looking at both of the candidate’s fundraising numbers, Sessions has a clear advantage in dollars raised.
Texas Politics was in Waco this week and spoke to Rep. Sessions, but was not able to speak to Mrs. Swann, who had a previous engagement south in the district.
Instead, we spoke to Swann’s campaign manager Michael Blair, who gave us little more about her background.
Here is a breakdown of each of the candidates.
Rep. Pete Sessions – The former AT& T marketing executive, 22-year member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and married father of five that narrowly lost his Dallas seat back during the 2018 “Blue Wave” mid-term election. When Rep. Flores decided to cash in his chips and step aside, Sessions made the decision that because he had some unfinished business in Washington, running in an open congressional seat was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up, especially in the district in which he grew up in.
Sessions was born, raised, and lives in Waco.
Rep. Sessions chaired the all-powerful Rules Committee in the House of Representatives during his time in Washington, working closely with House and Senate GOP leadership and with Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump.
Like we said, Sessions checks off all the boxes. He’s been a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, ran the National Republican Congressional Committee, a lifetime member of the Texas Rifle Association, and was an Eagle Scout, just to mention a few accomplishments.
While we kept our questions to background, we did ask Sessions about healthcare, specifically Obamacare. According to his voting record, Sessions, who worked closely with President Trump to devise a way to repeal replace the law in 2017, has voted 64 times to abolish the Affordable Care Act since it was signed into law by President Barack Obama.
To date, Sessions has raised $461,500. 77 per the latest FEC reports and has about $92,712.22 in the bank. Sessions has loaned his campaign $90,000 and is expecting to report a six-figure fundraising haul in the next reporting cycle
Some more of Sessions’ campaign niblets and ratings:
100%-Texas Farm Bureau
94% Rating- American Conservative Union
High School- Churchill HS (San Antonio)
College- Southwestern University (1978) B.S. Government- Georgetown, TX.
–Served on Board of Trustees for 12 years ending in 12/31/19
Attends First United Methodist Church in Waco
Renee Swann – The retired COO of the family’s medical practice is a first-time candidate who has managed to garner some impressive endorsements, including that of Rep. Bill Flores.
Originally from West Texas, Swann ran her family’s Brazos Eye Surgery of Texas clinic for over 30 years. The practice was started by her husband of 42 years, Russell, who was first a flight medic in the Army before going into private practice. One of her four sons is currently heading up the surgeries at the clinic.
The pro-Gun, pro-Life mom was also the president of her local Little League Baseball group and a past president of her local PTA. Even though Sessions was able to land the NRA’s official endorsement, but Swann garnered an AQ rating.
To date, Swann has raised $670,853 per the latest FEC reports and has about $131,000 cash on hand. Swann has loaned his campaign a whopping $454,000.
Some more of Swann’s campaign endorsements:
Susan B Anthony List’s Candidate Fund PAC
Winning for Women
Value in Electing Women PAC
Texas Values Action
Texas Right to Life
Texas Alliance for Life
High School- West Texas
College- Trinity University (Did not graduate)- San Antonio TX. Loyala University (graduated with Broadcast Journalism degree)
Attends Church of Christ (non-denominational) in Waco
We also asked Swann’s campaign manager on what her position on Obamacare was. According to Blair, Swann also supports repealing and replacing the healthcare law. We asked him if Swann supported the protection of the preexisting conditions clause of the bill, but Blair said that Swann was not in a position to talk about that measure, adding that he had not spoken her about the issue. Within the hour, Blair contacted us, informing that Swann did already have her position formulated on the preexisting condition topic.
Swann wants to reduce the burdensome costs and regulations tied to Obamacare and allow for free markets to control the healthcare space, and the preserve pre-existing conditions clause.
The winner of these primarily is all-but assure to become the next member of the U.S. House of Representatives in that district.