Meyer says he’s centrist, Cattanach says he’s out of touch in Texas House rematch for key Dallas seat

One in a series about elections for the Texas House of Representatives.

State Rep. Morgan Meyer says the district he represents is centrist.

Because of that, the Republican lawmaker said he’s focused his five years in Austin on middle-of-the-road issues where he can work across the aisle with Democrats.

“We are not far to the left, we are not far to the right,” he said. “We are right in the middle.”

But his Democratic opponent Joanna Cattanach says that old line won’t work. House District 108 — which spans the Park Cities, Uptown, parts of downtown and Old East Dallas — has moved politically to the left and Meyer is “out of touch” with its needs on issues like access to abortion and preventing gun violence.

After coming within 220 votes of ousting Meyer two years ago, Cattanach said she’s back to finish the job in November.

“The issues that I fought for in 2018, did not change,” she said. “The district has become, frankly, even more socially liberal on many of these issues and they do want change.”

The political rematch is one of the most closely watched races in the November elections, partially because the district is one of the Democrats’ top targets this year.

The outcome could also have deeper implications for the battle for the Texas House, as Democrats try to take the chamber for the first time since 2001. Such a victory could dramatically alter the political landscape in Texas.

What’s the right fit for the district?

Meyer, a 46-year-old attorney, said the district’s politics remain the same as when he was elected. If voters need proof, just look at the last election.

In 2018, the district voted against Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Pete Sessions by more than 10 percentage points in their Senate and congressional races. Don Huffines, the Republican state senator that covered his district, was swept out of office.

But the district stuck with Meyer. Meyer said that’s because he’s worked well with other lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation like protecting special needs students in schools and criminalizing the unsolicited electronic sending of lewd pictures.

“I have the experience to do it and have shown over my entire career, the ability to work across the aisle with Democrats and Republicans to tackle the most serious issues of this state,” he said.

As a member of the public education committee last session, he said, he played a key role in the state’s marquee school finance bill, which increased school funding by $4.5 billion and put an additional $2 billion towards teacher pay raises.

“Those are the results my constituents want to see,” he said.

But Cattanach, a 39-year-old journalism professor and former reporter for The Dallas Morning News, said the voters she talks to are concerned about Meyer’s record on guns, access to abortion and other social issues.

In 2015, Meyer supported the “campus carry” bill which would allow people with a handgun license to conceal carry a weapon in most

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Rematch in central New York House district looking even meaner than last time

First-term New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi faces a familiar foe in November, former Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney.

She’s looking to take back the central New York seat she lost to Brindisi in 2018 in one of the toughest fights that year, when Democrats won the House majority for the first time in eight years. That included a Tenney campaign memo calling Brindisi’s family “criminal” and “thuggish.” Brindisi, at various times in the campaign, called then-congresswoman Tenney “stupid” and “a disgrace.”

House Republicans see the 22nd District as key in their long-shot quest to retake the House majority. To do so, Republicans would need to net about 17 seats. One thing in their favor is that President Trump is still popular in the traditionally GOP district.

A freshman lawmaker, Brindisi must defend his seat in the 22nd Congressional District. Voters there gave Trump 55% of the vote in 2016 to 39% for Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

So, Brindisi, 41, is considered one of the most vulnerable freshman Democrats in his rematch against Tenney, who was a House member for a single, two-year term before losing.

The New York Democrat won the seat in 2018 by nearly 2 percentage points and raised just over $1 million more than Tenney following the contentious race. The New York Democrat won the two largest counties in the district, Broome and Oneida.

Tenney and Brindisi were previously colleagues for six years in the New York Assembly, on opposite sides of the aisle.

Brindisi, a native of Utica and Albany Law School graduate, serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and the House Agriculture Committee.

During his first term in office, Brindisi has attempted to distance himself from House Democratic leaders and the more leftist elements of his party, preferring to focus on local issues.

Brindisi has highlighted his work with the Trump administration to get four bills signed into law to support veterans and bring jobs back to the United States from China. However, he remains a staunch supporter of the Affordable Care Act and voted to impeach the president.

Tenney, 59, seeks to attract the district’s more conservative voters by campaigning on Trump’s agenda while arguing that Brindisi is too liberal for the needs of the rural region of the state outside the cities of Binghamton and Utica.

The New York Republican seeks to hold China responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic through lawsuits against the Chinese Communist government for damages inflicted on U.S. families. She also advocates freezing Chinese assets as collateral on the prospective damages caused by COVID-19.

Republican and Democratic groups are pouring millions into this race, and Democrats plan on outspending the GOP 4 to 1 in the final stretch on TV ads. Republican groups already announced $8.2 million will be spent on Tenney’s campaign this fall. All of this suggests the Brindisi-Tenney rematch could be one of the meanest, nastiest, and most negative House races in the country.

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