A Texas Democrat running for Congress has accused the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee of meddling in another primary by publicly endorsing her opponent.
Lillian Salerno, an Obama administration appointee and Democratic House candidate in the Dallas-area 32nd congressional district, sent out a press release on Thursday blasting the DCCC for getting involved in another primary, adding that people in Texas are "sick and tired of a bunch of Washington insiders trying to make their decisions for them."
Salerno sent out the press release after the DCCC announced the fourth round of candidates in its highly competitive "Red to Blue" program, which is aimed at unseating Republican lawmakers in districts across the country. One of the candidates who the DCCC announced is her primary rival, Colin Allred, a former Obama appointee at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a former NFL linebacker.
"Texas hasn't elected a new woman to Congress in twenty-two years, and we're not taking it anymore," Salerno added. "The DCCC would do well to remember: Don't mess with Texas women."
The DCCC has received backlash for attempting to interfere last month in multiple Democratic primaries. In particular, the group targeted Texas Democratic congressional candidate Laura Moser by publishing opposition research against her on its website. While the DCCC received backlash from members of the media and Democratic activists, including former staffers from the Obama administration, the group stood by its strategy. That strategy, nevertheless, backfired earlier this month when Moser qualified for a May 22 primary runoff.
"After the DCCC's embarrassing stumble attacking candidate Laura Moser, they have not learned their lesson," said campaign manager Jeanne Stuart in a press release on Friday. "Texas Democrats know better than some Washington, D.C. committee that's trying to tip the scales. 62% of primary voters did not vote for Colin, and we are confident we will win the run-off and that Lillian is the strongest candidate to beat Pete Sessions in November."
While "Red to Blue" is not technically a DCCC endorsement of Allred, Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D., N.M.), the DCCC chairman, praised him in a press release.
"Raised by a single mom who taught for 30 years in Dallas's public schools, Colin Allred has never lost touch with the community that shaped him," Luján said. "Now, after representing his community on the football field and standing up for working people's dignity in the Obama administration, Colin is running to put everyday Texans before special interests. Colin's experience and new ideas will give North Texas a fresh start as they look to replace a politician who's spent 20-years too many in Washington."
Luján's praise of Allred, who is black, comes after the committee was accused earlier this month by Greg Edwards, a black pastor running for a newly-drawn seat in Pennsylvania, of trying to push the only Democratic candidate of color out of the race. The DCCC denied this accusation and said its strategy was based on the district in question being new, saying it was a special situation in which candidate-organizing became important.
Salerno and Allred will face off against each other in the Democratic primary runoff on May 22. The winner will face Rep. Pete Sessions (R., Texas) in the fall.