Cornbreadd on Cornbreadd

Political battles, like rap battles, are wars of words, which is why independent Maurice Duhon believes he can defeat incumbent Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee

• April 4, 2012 5:00 am


Maurice Duhon Jr. is an independent candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in the 18th district of Texas, which covers much of inner city Houston.

He is also a rapper who goes by Cornbreadd.

Duhon is running against an incumbent Democrat, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who has held the seat since 1995.

Republican Sean Seibert is also running for Jackson Lee's seat. Jackson Lee faced both a Republican and a third-party challenger in 2010. The Republican won 27 percent of the vote, and the third-party candidate 3 percent.

Jackson is known as one of the most demanding and angry members of Congress to work for, often calling her staffers "stupid mother fuckers."

Duhon, who says communication as one his biggest talents, believes he can do better.

The Houston native is a self-described artist and small-businessman. In addition to real estate, he is a well-known Houston rapper and writes on his blog, PoliticalAbyss.

He was preparing to depart for Europe on a music tour when he felt the call for public service. As Duhon described it to the Houston Press:

"Thinking how convenient it would be to escape the unstable economy, evaporated job market, and sky-rocketing commodity prices, I was ready to go. I purchased a passport; scouted some cool hostels and then it happened … The feeling that I have when I write music, that hard-to-describe feeling I get when I follow my gut, Socrates referred to it as a certain Diamonia, I believe most people would call it their conscience."

Speaking over the phone to the Free Beacon, Duhon was more concise. "I thought that maybe I was using my communicative skills for selfish reasons," he said.

Duhon cancelled the tour and announced his candidacy for the 18th district.

While he may have dropped the mic, the rap flair remains. Duhon, like former Republican senate majority leader Bob Dole, tends to lapse into the third-person in the middle of stumping.

"What we have here is a candidate who is not ambitious, who does not enjoy avarice," Duhon said about his desire to be a public servant. "What we have here is a selfless individual."

Duhon also does not speak in short talking points but instead bounces from issue to issue—education, border-control, healthcare, the postal service, transparency—with abandon and multi-syllabic words.

"We’re in a district that's $17,000 behind the Texas median income," Duhon said. "We're at 11.8 percent unemployment."

If he were elected, Duhon said, he would use every tool—Skype, Twitter, Facebook—to talk to District 18 residents and business-owners.

Duhon is running as an independent to break the partisan gridlock that he believes Americans are tired of.

"We have the most polarized Congress since the end of the Civil War," Duhon said. "What I'm willing to do and what I'm doing is coming to the middle of road and talking at the top my lungs about the issues Americans want to hear about."

If elected, Duhon said, he wants to be an influential voice on border control and bring the district back into relevancy, something he said is lacking under Jackson Lee’s representation.

"No one says we've got to get the 18th in on this legislation," Duhon continued. "We don't enjoy that luxury of relevance."

Jackson Lee, with her predilection for sequins and bright colors, is perhaps the most visible member of Congress. Asked if he could fill the large and garish shoes of Jackson Lee, Duhon did not hesitate.

"I have an awesome selection of elegant and smartly chosen ties, and I wear a mean suit," Duhon said. "I'm willing to stand out, but it's the voice, it's the voice that's going to ring out in the halls of Congress and through the 18th district."


Published under: Congress, Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas