Election Spotlight: U.S. House District 30


USA midterm election 2022 voting banner design. | Image by Tarikdiz, Shutterstock

The upcoming midterm elections promise to be a pivotal and exciting election, but one Texas member of Congress will not be returning.

Longtime incumbent Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) decided not to run for reelection, marking the end of a 30-year tenure in Washington, D.C. Johnson first took a seat in the House of Representatives in 1992 and is currently finishing her 15th term in office.

Due to Johnson’s retirement, several eager voices have presented themselves to serve in her stead. The primary winners were James Rodgers and Jasmine Crockett.

Rodgers is an education specialist, having earned a doctorate in the field from Baylor University. Throughout his academic career, he has served in various public education positions in Florida, Texas, and New York, including London.

In an interview with The Dallas Express, Rodgers explained that reforming the public education system was among the main issues driving him to pursue office.

“I came to the realization that the system was fundamentally and foundationally broken,” he explained. “We have lots of different kids and they learn lots of different ways, they have different skills and strengths,” Rodgers continued, but the system “is not built to do that.”

While working at schools in the Bronx, Rodgers explained how he saw first-hand the connection between education, industry, and crime.

“I think I was naïve when I moved specifically to the south Bronx, I thought when there’s no industry in an area it’s like a vacuum,” he said. “That’s not the case, there’s industry and there’s education, but it’s crime.”

His experience led him to be a champion of economic opportunity zones and the First Step Act, considering both to be moves in the right direction.

Although a Republican, Rodgers believes that politics should be driven by ideological consistency instead of becoming merely “a team sport where I vote for my team no matter what my team does.”

He suggested that many of the people he has spoken to while canvassing have been lifelong Democrats but are far more conservative ideologically. “What I’m finding when I knock on doors is … that in a battle of issues, in a battle of ideas, I do not believe that this is a contest as far as me and my opponent.”

“That’s how we’re shifting it,” Rodgers said, “and we’re seeing dividends. The polls have been cut nearly in half.”

Rodgers is running against Democrat nominee Jasmine Crockett. Crockett currently serves in the Texas House after being elected in 2020 to fill the seat which Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson left to assume his current role.

For that race, she narrowly edged out fellow Democrat Lorraine Birabil in the primary, winning by just 90 votes, and faced no Republican opposition in the general election.

While she openly describes herself as virtually guaranteed to win, her campaign for Congress has not been without controversy. The family of Botham Jean, who was killed by an off-duty Dallas Police officer in 2018, condemned Crockett for seemingly using his name to promote herself politically.

“Botham’s name is not an endorsement you can parade, and his legacy is not a sound bite you can use to garner media coverage,” the family said in an open letter.

“For you to misrepresent yourself as one of our attorneys, is absolutely disgusting … For you to publicly publish these lies both written and audibly is unacceptable and unbecoming of any civil servant and any decent human being,” the family continued.

Crockett did not respond to interview requests, but The Dallas Express recently attended an event she spoke at in Austin. While there, she explained some of her positions on issues and why she was seeking higher office after only a single term in the Texas House.

“I want to put Abbott in his place,” she declared, and going on to call Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick “a tyrant.”

She expressed frustration about not being able to get anything done at the state level, indicating that she hoped that the federal position would provide her with the power she needed to advance her priorities.

Crockett also seemingly denied that Texas elections were legitimate.

“We are not a Republican state, we are a voter-suppressed state,” Crockett claimed. “The greatest threat [to Republicans] in the state of Texas is the fact that we are a state that is full of color,” she claimed, suggesting that the majority party engaged in gerrymandering and voter suppression.

In describing her political approach if sent to Congress, she shunned being “an activist” like progressive members such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Crockett referred to herself as “a snitch,” preferring to use outside organizations to put pressure on other politicians.

“I was telling on everybody who needed to be told on,” she continued.

So far, Rodgers and Crockett have not debated each other, but not for lack of trying by the Republican candidate.

Hillary Shepheard, the campaign manager for Rodgers, told The Dallas Express that despite many attempts, Crockett “did not respond to our requests … via email and personally [direct messaging] her along with another candidate personally texting with her about it.”

“I think all candidates should give constituents the chance to be as informed as possible,” she continued, “and it’s disappointing she hasn’t chosen to do so.”             

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4 months ago

You did a great disservice for not including Independent Candidate Debbie Walker in your piece. She is also running for 30th Congressional District this midterm.