The Texas 17th and the NRCC

In what will be an all-too-familiar tune for Redstate readers, it looks like the NRCC is at it again, this time in the Texas 17th District. A little background is in order, to help readers understand this District and what is going on right now as we head into 2010.

Texas 17 is a very conservative district, voting 65% Republican in state and national races. Yet since 1991, our congressman has been Chet Edwards, a typical Southern Democrat who talks conservative here and votes with Pelosi 97% of the time in DC. He bring enough pork in that he manages to keep his job. In 2006, the party machine put millions of dollars into this race and moved a likable veteran to the district to run for the seat; he got destroyed by 18 points.

In 2008, the party decided to not run anyone, to save their money for other seats. Many in the district didn’t appreciate that, and they asked Waco businessman and long-time Republican volunteer Rob Curnock to run. Curnock had run in a primary before, and when he lost he actually worked for the guy who beat him. Curnock filed on the last day, and the party made it clear from the start that they didn’t intend to help him at all. “Good luck with that.” They made it very hard for him to raise money, coming into the district and soliciting for races elsewhere, and letting people know this race was unwinnable.

And yet Curnock shouldered on. In the end, Edwards outspent Curnock by $2 million, and yet the result was 53-46. It was the closest House race in Texas, and with a little help from the party machine it could have been a win.

Now the air of invincibility is gone, and the party has said this is a key targeted race. And you know what happens next. Several local candidates have come forward, most of them unknowns who have never been involved in supporting conservative causes or Republican candidates. NONE of them donated or volunteered in any way in 2008, but now that the road seems easy, they are suddenly ready to go.

Primaries are good, and I believe voters should be the ones to decide who is the best person to run against our liberal incumbent. And I firmly believe Rob Curnock is that candidate, and would win in that fair race.

Enter Bill Flores … He moved to the district in July 2008, from the Houston area, which is well outside the district. A wealthy oilman, he has close ties to the party machine and in particular Pete Sessions at the NRCC. He also gave nothing and did nothing to try to help win the 2008 race.

Last week Flores filed for Congress here, and the NRCC provided him with a supporting quote in his release. The NRCC has put him on their “Key Races” list on the Freedom Project web site, and they refuse to list anyone else in the race. They have listed a story about him on their web site. It’s clear he’s their guy, and the people in this area are fed up with it.

Curnock and his volunteer team are still in place and growing every day. He’s the only candidate with name recognition across all 12 counties of the district (3 of them he actually won in 2008). He has more than 1,200 volunteers signed up, and these are real grassroots conservatives from all areas of the district. Best of all, he’s a small business owner and a regular guy, not a Washington insider, and he has no interest in being a professional politician. He’s a true common-sense conservative who believes in less government, lower taxes and more personal freedom.

So this is a plea to the conservative base here at Redstate. Help us get the word out about the NRCC and their game, because if we don’t, we will end up with a Republican candidate that the grassroots won’t support, and probably a third candidate who lacks the support of the party. All that will lead to is another term for Chet Edwards.

I’ll keep this diary updated as things change with this race. For more information about Rob Curnock, visit http://www.robcurnockforcongress.com/ or see him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/robcurnock/ .