That there may be no more difficult a political challenge than running as a conservative outsider against a polular incumbent member of an already conservative congressional delegation is nowhere better seen than the primary race in Texas’ 10th district.
Eddie Traylor, a retired Air Force and commercial pilot from Cedar Park who has never before run for elected office, was chosen for support from Get Out of Our House to face U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul. McCaul is seeking a fifth two-year term.
This modest non-profit group is working to root incumbents out of the U.S. House of Representatives, a mission not unlike the Houston Super Pac Campaign for Primary Accountability.
The chief difference between the two groups is money. Campaign for Primary Accountability has been credited with spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to help insurgents to primary upsets in Ohio and most recently Pennsylvania.
Get Out of Our House has asked Campaign officials for money on behalf of Traylor. Instead, the group announced it would focus funding to help two Democrats defeat Rep. Silvestre Reyes in West Texas’ District 16 and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson in District 30 in Dallas County.
McCaul raised $885,000 in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest Federal Election Commission figures. Traylor raised $6,949 during the same period. McCaul had $362,000 on hand for that period, Traylor $1,110.
Should McCaul defeat Traylor in the May 29 primary, he should have little trouble in the general election. In 2010, McCaul won 76.3 percent of the vote to Democrat Ted Ankrum’s 22.3 percent.
Tawana Cadien, running in this year’s Democratic primary raised no money in the first quarter.
William Miller Jr., who also raised nothing in the first quarter of the year, remains in the race, although he has ceded campaigning to Cadien, according to the left-leaning Burnt Orange Report.
Traylor, 64, says he understands that, to mount a challenge to McCaul in a heavily conservative district running from Austin east to the suburbs of Houston, voters are going to need to know his few simple positions.
If elected and reelected, Traylor will not accept a third term. He would work to see term limits placed on the House and the Senate. From the moment he took office, Traylor says he would trim his congressional staff to 12 from the 18 now allowed House members..
After serving in office, Traylor says he pledges never to return to Washington as a lobbyist.
“I plan to stay two terms. I won’t have the time to be timid or to be bought off,” Traylor says. “I intend to go there to be a leader. I’m absolutely confounded that there are no individuals making a difference in Congress.”
Traylor also takes issue with McCaul’s vote for the National Defense Authorization Act, in that it contains sections 1021 and 1022 giving the president broad powers to detain people in the name of fighting terrorism.
Defenders of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution take issue with this and a variety of Homeland Security powers ceded to the chief executive following 9/11.
McCaul has played key roles on the House Committee on Homeland Security, the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
“Those sections of the National Defense Authorization Act turn the Bill of Rights and the Constitution on their heads,” Traylor says.
Texas Watchdog asked for McCaul’s response to Traylor’s criticism as part of a request to discuss his positions for this story. Mike Rosen, a McCaul spokesman, said McCaul was unavailable for comment.
McCaul’s voting record makes him one of the most conservative members of the House, according to the respected vote-tracking website, govtrack.us
McCaul, 50, voted against the stimulus, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and for Rep. Paul Ryan’s current House Budget bill. He opposed ObamaCare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and for the failed balanced budget amendment this past November.
And he was among the first and most staunch House Republicans to renounce and refuse to pursue federally funded projects or earmarks for his district.
McCaul and other Republicans took a pledge in 2008, objecting to projects being added to the annual appropriations bill without knowing who sponsored those projects and without being able to vote on them individually.
Last August, Roll Call reported that McCaul was the richest man in Congress, with an estimated net worth of nearly $300 million. McCaul, Roll Call said, has been the beneficiary of family money generated by Clear Channel Communications, whose chairman, Lowry Mays, is the father and whose CEO, Mark Mays, is the brother of McCaul’s wife, Linda.
Mark Lisheron is the Austin bureau chief for Texas Watchdog, which is affiliated with the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.