A May 5th article in Roll Call about potential challengers to Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Waco) in 2010, Candidates Line Up to Take on Battle-Tested Edwards. The list is long already
There’s little question Republicans are looking to target Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas), who could face yet another tough re-election in his solidly conservative Waco-based seat. The question is who his opponent will be.
Both experienced and inexperienced Republicans are preparing their Federal Election Commission forms in Texas’ 17th district, encouraged by a strong showing by poorly funded 2008 nominee Rob Curnock.
Curnock held Edwards to 53 percent of the vote, despite receiving almost no support from the national party. Curnock, a small-business owner from Waco, plans to run again and hopes this time he’ll receive more support from national and local party leaders.
Chuck Wilson, who owns a construction and development company in Waco, has established an exploratory committee. He said he has a campaign manager and a couple of part-time workers and just hired a fundraiser over the weekend.
Darren Yancy, a businessman and first-time candidate from Burleson, has also filed to run. He sells insurance and real estate but has not gotten involved in politics, locally or nationally, in the past.
Other candidates have also been mentioned. David McIntyre, who finished third in the Republican primary in 2004, is rumored to be considering another run. He now serves as director of the Integrative Center for Homeland Security at Texas A&M. Jeff Beene, a retired Air Force colonel who lives in Waco, has also considered running. Some Republicans speculate that state Sen. Steve Ogden has higher office aspirations, while his colleague, Sen. Kip Averitt, denied that he will join the fray.
M.A. Taylor has served as chairman of the Waco-based McLennan County Republican Party since 1995. He thinks some of the candidates are better qualified than others.
“Quite frankly, I’ve tried to discourage some of the folks from running,” he said. “I just don’t think they have the exposure necessary to mount a viable campaign. I don’t think they can raise the money to make a campaign of it.”
Taylor would probably do his best to clear the field if Ogden was to “join the fray”. EOW mentioned an Ogden run in TX-17 as a possibility back in 2007. If Ogden were to run it would certainly cause some shuffling in Williamson County. An Ogden run is a possibility, how likely is anyone’s guess. It depends on how much he aspires for higher office. Being in the majority in the Texas Senate and chair of the Finance Committee is a comfortable position, and there’s no guarantee he can win this Congressional seat.
The article goes on to point out that Edwards has had well financed, and well known, opponents in the past and he’s always been able to prevail.
For his part, Edwards is not worried. Furthermore, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not name Edwards to its “Frontline” program for endangered incumbents earlier this year.
The Congressman noted that Republicans have always tried to tie him to national Democratic leaders. He emphasized that stimulus funding will be used toward necessary projects in Texas, including improvements on the Veterans Affairs hospital in Waco and a highway in the northern part of the district and a new hospital at Fort Hood, just outside his district. He added that in 2008 he earned the endorsements of conservative-leaning groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Rifle Association and the Texas Farm Bureau.
“They’ve always tried to tie me to the national Democratic leadership. It’s never worked, and it won’t work this time,” he said.
Edwards has always proven to be a solid campaigner and anyone who runs against him had better bring their “A” game, and even that may not be enough.