Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas is doing a great job. He is a fighter who will be tough on Crime and the Border, fight hard for our Second Amendment and loves our Military and our Vets. He has my full and complete Endorsement!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2018
It's not just the president who's jumping in to help Sessions in the face of a serious challenge from former NFL player and President Barack Obama appointee Colin Allred. Monday, Vice President Mike Pence is parachuting into Texas to campaign for Sessions and Senator Ted Cruz, who's locked in a tough re-election battle of his own with U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a right-wing super PAC, is also running ads against Allred, painting him as, stop us if you've heard this one before, "too liberal for Texas."
Congressman @PeteSessions of Texas is a true fighter and patriot. Highly respected in D.C. by all, he always gets what his district, and our country, wants and needs. Strong on Crime, Border, Military, Vets and 2nd Amendment. Pete has my Full and Total Endorsement. A great guy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2018
The cavalry is coming to Sessions' aid following the release of a series of polls, including one by Siena College and The New York Times, that show the race as a toss-up, but Rice University political science Professor Mark Jones says the timing of the help for Sessions is probably more about the calendar than fear of Allred. Jones says that if the election were a football game, he'd view Sessions as about a 7-point favorite, thanks to the 32nd District's long history of voting strongly Republican for Sessions and in judicial races.
Despite the national attention being paid to the contest between Sessions and Allred, Allred is still largely unknown within District 32, which covers a swath of North Dallas and DFW's northern suburbs, according to Jones. Someone who isn't all that tuned in might catch a snippet of Pence's visit thanks to TV coverage and develop an opinion about the challenger.
"One of the advantages of Pence coming and the focus on CD32 is — according to that New York Times poll — half the voters in CD32 don't know anything about Colin Allred," Jones says. "The more that Pence can come and say, 'Pete Sessions is a good conservative Republican and Colin Allred is radical, liberal Nancy Pelosi Democrat,' that does inform the electorate. To the extent that you're going to drive those people with low information, you might give them a more negative opinion."
So far, Sessions and Allred have had a single public debate, held on the afternoon of Sept. 19 at the Dallas Rotary Club. This week, Allred sent Sessions a letter requesting a televised debate, but the two candidates have yet to agree on a date or terms for a potential debate.