Texas Elections 2018

Colin Allred talks football and his congressional campaign

The Texas Tribune hosted a conversation with Colin Allred, Democratic candidate for Texas' 32nd Congressional District. The talk was moderated by Texas Tribune co-founder and CEO Evan Smith.

Texas Elections 2018

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz defeated Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke in the race for U.S. Senate. View full 2018 Texas election results or subscribe to The Brief for the latest election news.

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The Democratic candidate for Texas' 32nd Congressional District, Colin Allred, said Thursday that his career as a football player has come more in handy in his campaign than his experience as a voting rights attorney.

“Because in football you have to block out the things you can’t control and focus on what you can,” Allred said.

Allred, who played linebacker for Baylor University and had a brief stint in the NFL, was speaking with The Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith during an hourlong event. You can watch the replay above. Here are a few highlights:

Trump’s tweets

President Donald Trump is one of the things Allred said he can’t control. Trump has tweeted two times in support of Republican Pete Sessions, the 11-term incumbent of the district Allred is trying to win.

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“It doesn’t worry me,” Allred said.

Allred’s strategy focuses, in part, on tying Sessions to Trump.

When Trump wrote the second tweet in support of Sessions, Allred tweeted: “Pete Sessions is counting on Donald Trump. I’m counting on you.”

On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence is visiting Dallas to campaign for Sessions and Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

The Affordable Care Act

The campaign’s other focus is the job Sessions has done — and not done — in Congress, Allred said.

“On healthcare, we have the highest uninsured rate in the country; we have 20 percent of people in Dallas County who don’t have insurance; we have 330,000 people in the district who have a preexisting condition,” Allred said. “And then Congressman Sessions votes to repeal the ACA [Affordable Care Act] with no plan to replace it, no plan to protect those people.”

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This week, Congressman Sessions introduced a resolution to protect people with pre-existing conditions, but the resolution is non-binding, according to The Hill.

Experience as a lawyer

Allred also touted his past as a voting rights litigator. Fighting voter disenfranchisement in Texas is important to him, he said. And a low voter turnout is bad for democracy, according to Allred.

“That’s bad for either party, it produces extremes in the candidates because they don’t have to worry about the next primary,” Allred said.