Thursday should've been — and was — a triumphal day for Dallas' newest U.S. House representative, Democrat Colin Allred. He got his reward for beating incumbent Pete Sessions in their grueling 2018 campaign, finally being sworn in as member of the 116th Congress.
Allred, who's contributing a diary about his first couple of months in Congress to GQ, was clearly feeling a bit awed by the circumstances and his surroundings.
"Walking out on the House floor immediately hammers home that this is what you’re here to do — to not only represent the people who sent you, but also to maintain the values and history we’ve built over time," he told the magazine. "There’s a responsibility and a weight of history that kind of settles on you when you think, 'I’m going to be voting here pretty soon.'"
It took exactly one vote for reality to come crashing back in.
Shortly after participating in the official group swearing-in for House members, Allred got down to business and voted for Nancy Pelosi as House speaker. That's all it took for the National Republican Congressional Committee to come after him with one of its first paid campaign ads of the 2020 election cycle.
"Immediately after the Speaker vote, voters in districts across the country received text messages, paid for by the NRCC, informing them that with their first vote as a member of Congress, their Democrat Representative has already sold them out to the radical left and voted to hand the Speaker’s gavel to Nancy Pelosi," the NRCC said in a press release. "Today’s vote sets the tone for what voters can expect from congressional Democrats as the party continues to follow their radical base and march to the left on everything from immigration to taxes to national security."
The NRCC targeted 15 new House members with the ads, including Allred and fellow Texan Lizzie Fletcher, who knocked off longtime Houston-area Republican John Culberson in a district that, like Allred's, voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump despite a long history of favoring Republicans.
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After refusing to say whether he would support Pelosi immediately after his election, Allred said late last year that he believed his North Dallas district's priorities would be best served if the longtime California representative became speaker for the second time.
"After speaking with Leader Pelosi, I was pleased she agreed that a new generation needs a seat at the table in order to elevate fresh ideas within the caucus, and that under her leadership, Democrats will focus on what unites us as a country," Allred said. "This includes rebuilding our infrastructure, protecting Medicare and Social Security for this generation and the next, lowering healthcare and prescription drug costs and reducing the toxic influence of special interests that drown out the voices of the American people in our democracy."
Throughout 2018, Allred emphasized the failure by Sessions and House Republicans to prioritize insurance protections for those Americans who have pre-existing medical conditions. Sessions repeatedly tried to tie Allred to Pelosi and Clinton, saying that his support for their healthcare and economic policies would cripple Texas' economy.
The calendar has changed, but the script hasn't.