DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With less than seven weeks until Election Day and five weeks until early voting begins, the race for the 32nd Congressional District in Texas is gaining even more national attention.
The current president and two former presidents have made endorsements in this competitive race between Republican Pete Sessions and Democrat Colin Allred.
On Saturday, President Donald Trump backed Sessions in a tweet that read in part: “Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas is doing a great job… He has my full and complete endorsement.”
Former President George W. Bush headlined a fundraiser for Sessions Thursday evening after he and former First Lady Laura Bush endorsed him.
Allred received an endorsement from former President Barack Obama and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk who served as U.S. Trade Representative during the first term of the Obama administration.
Allred was an attorney for HUD under then Secretary Julian Castro during the second term.
Both Castro and his brother Joaquin, a Democratic Congressman from San Antonio, also endorsed Allred.
As expected, both candidates were pleased about their endorsements, but they criticized their opponents’ support.
Sessions said, “The Castros and President Obama are for higher taxes, more spending, more government, a single-payer system, and a chance for the government to attack the free enterprise system.”
Allred said, “I don’t think it’s surprising President Trump has endorsed Congressman Sessions. He has voted with him 98% of the time afterall, and he stood with him on every single important issue, so that’s not surprising to me.”
This political contest was already being closely watched by politicians in Washington D.C. because Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in the district in 2016.
Sessions, though, still received thousands of more votes than Mrs. Clinton in his district.
This is Sessions’ first competitive race since 2004 when he faced Democrat Martin Frost.
The veteran Republican says after he helped defeat Democrats in the House, he knows his seat is being targeted.
Allred says it’s time for a change. “I think this is a choice between two very different visions for where to take North Texas and where to take our country. I think we need fresh ideas, a new approach new leadership.”
But Sessions says the race comes down to the free enterprise system vs. the government.
He backed the tax cuts, Allred didn’t. “It comes down to whether people in this Congressional district wanted and needed and valued the greatest economic boom that we have had in years. Right now, here in Dallas, Texas, we’re the ones who’ve made the most of this. If there’s a change, we will stand a chance to lose the most in the entire country,” said Sessions.
Their differences on the tax cuts came up during a forum Wednesday at the Rotary Club of Dallas.
Allred said, “I don’t think it represents our values when we pass a tax bill that’s going to have 83 cents on every dollar go to people at the very top of our economy.”
Sessions said, “People who’ve been left out of the economic boom, which are lower income people, are the newest winners in the tax cut and that’s because we are hiring people.”
They also differ on healthcare.
Allred says he backs universal healthcare. “We should have Medicare buy-in, you and your family more options when it comes to health insurance, I don’t care what we call it.”
Sessions voted to repeal Obamacare, but has proposed a bill that would allow people to either keep it or take part in a plan based on the free market.
He had a warning if Democrats take back control of the House. “If they do get what they want, it will be a single payer system based upon the part of the Democrat party if they win the majority.”
Allred has raised enough money to start airing TV commercials in Dallas-Fort Worth, the largest and most expensive television market in Texas.
Sessions will soon join him on the airwaves.
The battle for this Congressional district could become one of the most expensive House races in the nation.