Elections

Colin Allred draws a challenge from “Republican America First Candidate”

Democratic congressional candidate Colin Allred, a former NFL linebacker and civil rights attorney, addresses a town hall in Dallas.
Democratic congressional candidate Colin Allred, a former NFL linebacker and civil rights attorney, addresses a town hall in Dallas. AP

A Richardson woman who identifies as a “Republican America First Candidate” has filed to run for the GOP nomination to challenge Democrat Colin Allred in 2020.

Tania Burgess has a website soliciting donations for her campaign for Congress in the Texas’ 32nd Congressional district, as well as a so-far inactive Twitter account.

The Dallas district, represented by Republican Rep. Pete Sessions until last fall, was a major target of both parties’ spending in the battle for control of the House.

Local GOP leaders have since expressed interest in fielding a more diverse candidate to run against Allred next year in a district that was originally drawn to be a safe seat for Republicans. Democrat Hillary Clinton won the district by roughly three percentage points in 2016, after Republican Mitt Romney carried it by more than 15 percentage points in 2012.

Richardson, where Burgess is from, typically provides a large share of the district’s Republican voters, along with Highland Park.

Democrat Colin Allred, who is running against Rep. Pete Sessions, talks immigration solutions at a forum both men were invited to in Dallas.

Burgess’ website doesn’t mention President Donald Trump, but says she supports an “America First economy.”

She also advocates for an E-Verify system to screen employees for citizenship — a proposal that’s popular among conservatives — and ID requirements in order to vote. Her website says that, if elected, she’d introduce legislation to implement a “federal public integrity unit” in every state.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which plays a big role in candidate recruitment, declined to comment on Burgess’ candidacy Tuesday night. Republicans need to flip 18 seats to retake the House in 2020, and consider the district a strong prospect for that effort.

Texas’ 36-member Congressional delegation currently has just one Republican woman, Rep. Kay Granger, who represents Fort Worth. Groups working to elect more say it’s become difficult for their candidates to make it through GOP primaries in the last two election cycles, in part because loyalty to Trump has become such a significant factor in those races.

Burgess did not respond immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

Andrea Drusch is the Washington Correspondent for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She is a Corinth, Texas, native and graduate of the Bob Schieffer School of Journalism at Texas Christian University. She returns home frequently to visit family, get her fix of Fuzzy’s Tacos and cheer on the Horned Frogs.


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