DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In the battle for the 32nd Congressional District in Dallas and Collin Counties, veteran Republican Congressman Pete Sessions says he knows he is a political target.
Sessions was first elected to Congress in 1996, but hasn’t faced a tough race like the one he is in now against Democrat Colin Allred, since 1994 when he defeated Martin Frost.
The Dallas Republican also helped topple Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker and so he believes she and other Democrats are seeking political payback.
Sessions said, “It’s a big race nationally for Nancy Pelosi, it’s a big race nationally for Democrats.”
He said he believes his race against Allred comes down to one thing: “This is a test, it’s a stress-test on the free enterprise system, and on all of the people in this district.”
One of the most important issues he says is healthcare.
Even though he and Republicans in the House have repeatedly voted to repeal Obamacare, Sessions denied Democrats’ claims he favors taking away protections for pre-existing conditions. “It is a lie to say Republicans would do anything to a person’s pre-existing conditions.”
Sessions said Republicans passed a bill that protects pre-existing conditions, a provision his campaign said the Congressman ensured was part of the bill.
But the legislation does give states the flexibility to issue waivers if patients meet certain thresholds.
It was H.R. 1628, which passed the House last year but didn’t go any further.
Records also show Sessions filed a resolution last month supporting pre-existing conditions, but it is non-binding.
Sessions says he’s concerned that if Democrats re-take the House, as is predicted in many polls, that they will pass a bill similar to H.R. 676, which was introduced by Democrats last year, that would enact medicare for all, and do away with private health insurance except for services not medically necessary, including cosmetic surgery.
The bill didn’t pass.
He voted for tax cuts and in this close race has received endorsements by President Donald Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, and former President George W, Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. “They know me well. They know that Dallas needs a free enterprise, chamber of commerce Republican, not a tax and spend person who will help Nancy Pelosi.”
Like Sessions, Allred has received endorsements too, including one from former President Barack Obama.
Sessions says he has been a “go-to” member of Congress for cities and companies alike.
A New York Times/Siena College poll of 500 likely voters conducted between September 19-24 showed Sessions with a one point lead, 48 to 47 percent.
The website, FiveThirtyEight, says the race still leans Republican and gives Sessions a seven in ten chance to win re-election and Allred a three in ten chance to beat Sessions.
Federal Election Commission records show Allred has raised $4,955,159 between January 1, 2017 and October 17 of this year.
He spent $3,569,332 and has $1,385,827 cash on hand.
Records show Sessions raised $4,416,949 during the same time period and spent $3,328,294.
He has $1,592,793 cash on hand.
Both say they have an army of volunteers knocking on doors and making phone calls.