The campaign arm of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives set its sights on a surprising target Thursday: Democratic congressional hopeful Laura Moser.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee posted negative research on Moser, a Houston journalist vying among six other Democrats in the March 6 primary to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. John Culberson. Democrats locally and nationally have worried that Moser is too liberal to carry a race that has emerged in recent months as one of the most competitive races in the country.
The DCCC posting, which features the kind of research that is often reserved for Republicans, notes that Moser only recently moved back to her hometown of Houston and that much of her campaign fundraising money has gone to her husband’s political consulting firm. It also calls her a “Washington insider.”
But DCCC spokeswoman Meredith Kelly went even further in a statement to The Texas Tribune.
“Voters in Houston have organized for over a year to hold Rep. Culberson accountable and win this Clinton district,” Kelly said. “Unfortunately, Laura Moser’s outright disgust for life in Texas disqualifies her as a general election candidate, and would rob voters of their opportunity to flip Texas’ 7th in November.”
Until this point, the DCCC so far this cycle has gone to great lengths to avoid the impression it was taking sides in primaries across the country. A Democratic source did point out to the Tribune that the campaign committee made a similar effort in a 2014 California House race.
The Texas 7th Congressional District is new offensive territory for Democrats and an ancestral GOP stronghold. But Hillary Clinton carried the district in 2016, and a flood of Democrats soon raced to run for the seat.
Moser’s bid has been picking up momentum practically daily. Earlier on Thursday, her campaign announced it had raised nearly $ 150,000 in the first 45 days of the year. And she has amassed in recent months a massive online following for a first-time Congressional candidate. She is also a favorite interview subject of national publications, women’s magazines and has a passionate following among many people who supported U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016.
This weekend, she is set to host actress and activist Alyssa Milano in the Houston-area district to help get out the vote during early voting.
For months, Democrats in Congress and those who work on campaigns were quietly worried about how Moser would play in a moderate district like the 7th, which encompasses wealthy enclaves of West Houston and stretches out into the suburb of Katy.
Other candidates in the high-profile Democratic primary include cancer researcher Jason Westin, lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher and Alex Triantaphyllis, who runs a Houston nonprofit.