Just hours after we interviewed House candidate Laura Moser, challenger in Texas' seventh district currently held by Republican John Culbertson, Moser was attacked.
But the fire didn’t come from Culbertson, or one of Moser’s opponents. Instead, it was the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which released a trove of oppo research online Thursday.
The DCCC has done this in just two races this month. One was Pennsylvania’s 18th, a special election coming in mid-March, with the target a more obvious one, Republican candidate Rick Saccone.
In fact, the DCCC didn’t intervene like this against another Democrat in any House race in 2016, and very rarely prior to that.
But Moser, an activist behind the text-messaging prompting app Daily Action, received the full force of the DCCC’s wrath, starting with this statement: “Democratic voters need to hear that Laura Moser is not going to change Washington. She is a Washington insider, who begrudgingly moved to Houston to run for Congress.”
The decision to attack one of their own — something the DCCC hasn’t even done in a race like IL-3, where conservative Democrat Dan Lipinski has drawn a progressive challenger, Marie Newman — drew some criticism online from prominent progressive voices, including our Managing Editor Emily Crockett.
I'm not a disinterested observer here. I know Laura. I don't know the ins and outs of this primary race. I know party committees will often de facto back one candidate. But this strikes me as unbelievable bullshit on the @dccc's part. I've never seen anything like it. https://t.co/5mnTpceQtp
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) February 23, 2018
even Moser's opponents are like "uhhhhh" https://t.co/DsHS1PxG7g
— Paul Blest (@pblest) February 23, 2018
It’s bananas. They have two public oppo pages. TWO. And the other one is on an arch-conservative.
— Emily Crockett (@emilycrockett) February 23, 2018
The arguments in favor of doing this now, including from our Draw A District columnist Robert Wheel, were retweeted by Meredith Kelly, DCCC Communications director. The DCCC did not respond to an email seeking further comment on the decision.
Feels like overreaction to @dccc & @lcmoser exchange in CD7 race. The criticism better aired now by Ds than by Rs in the fall. If it proves damaging in a primary, it would likely be devastating & disqualifying in a fall general election. https://t.co/eTIVLesf1Q
— Matt Angle (@LSPmatt) February 23, 2018
I think the DCCC believes they'll struggle to win in November with Moser. Romney won #TX07 by 20 points just six years ago! In my opinion the other candidates would give them a better shot vs Culberson.
— Walker Agnew, Jr. (@texasreb126) February 23, 2018
Casting this as the DCCC trying to stop a left wing candidate is false. If you want a liberal to win that seat her views are mostly indistinguishable from Jason Westin's. She's an opportunistic grifter who'd kill the party's chances in a key seat. https://t.co/wAYPvzU17M
— Robert Wheel LLC (@BobbyBigWheel) February 23, 2018
Moser’s campaign has not yet responded to an email seeking a response to this action from the DCCC, though this tweet from Moser appears to address it.
"When they go low, we go high." – true Democrat @MichelleObama
— Laura Moser (@lcmoser) February 23, 2018
Exactly how this effort to define the primary race will turn out will quickly become apparent. Moser, one of four candidates who has raised six figures in a race a generic Democrat led by ten points in recent polling, is busy getting out the early vote for what is a March 6 primary.