An enthusiastic crowd of nearly 500 people filled the inner room, patios, and parking lot of the Concrete Cowboy on Saturday to hear Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02) speak at his re-election kickoff event in Houston.
As he nears the end of his freshman term, Crenshaw is unopposed in Tuesday’s Republican primary, but is now fully ramping up his campaign for the general election.
Crenshaw explained that while Republicans believe in individual responsibility and in crafting a sustainable government with the purpose of protecting citizens’ unalienable rights, Democrats are promising government solutions to everything.
“Politicians are all too happy to promise that they will fix everything about your life; they can’t, and they know that… but they’re still willing to lie to you because that makes you vote for them.”
Crenshaw warned that progressive activists in the Democrat party are advocating socialism, which he says doesn’t work because it removes human incentive and kills the human spirit. He also pointed out that tens of millions had died under socialism and communism.
“That’s why people will get into a small, almost sinking raft and try to make it from Cuba to Miami to look for freedom.”
He also said that Democrat’s efforts to get rid of the Electoral College would allow for a “tyranny of the majority.”
“The implication is that you want 51 percent of the population to tell the other 49 percent what to do.”
In his speech, Crenshaw noted that the House of Representatives does pass a lot of bipartisan legislation, and that he had managed to pass three bills despite Democrat control of the chamber.
He also touted fulfilling his promise to address district flooding issues with measures addressing local waterways such as Langham Creek and the San Jacinto River, and promoting the Shepherd-Durham drainage and improvement project.
The diverse audience responded enthusiastically to Crenshaw’s comments and many sported his iconic “eyepatch image” on t-shirts and temporary tattoos on their arms and faces. After his speech, the line to have a photo with the high-profile congressman snaked around the bar and lasted for nearly an hour.
District resident Stephanie Salinas, who was wearing “Trump socks,” told The Texan that she was on hand to support Crenshaw because he kept his promises and supported the president.
“He’s also a great example for young people, military members, and military veterans.”
Harold Conard, an IT professional and real estate agent, told The Texan that he did not know anything about Crenshaw until he saw him on Saturday Night Live with comedian Pete Davidson. Impressed by Crenshaw’s handling of the Davidson comments and apology, Conard said he then started following the congressman on social media and listening to his speeches.
“I said, ‘He’s making a lot of sense. He’s talking about the borders and immigration; this guy knows what he’s talking about,” said Conard. “I believe in personal responsibility too. That’s what I teach my kids.”
After the event, Crenshaw spoke to The Texan about his upcoming campaign, where Democrats have already indicated they will be making an issue of his vote against so-called “drug price reduction” legislation.
Crenshaw explained that while Democrats have accused him of voting against a Medicare “price negotiation” bill, H.R.3 was actually about imposing “strict price controls on drugs.”
“The “negotiation” part is that if you don’t comply, there’s a 95 percent tax on revenues, not profits, but revenues,” Crenshaw told The Texan. “It’s an insane bill.”
Crenshaw also said a CBO analysis determined HR 3 would result in producing as many as 30 fewer cures or drugs in the next decade, because it would drastically reduce research and innovation. He added that he supports H.R. 19, which would reduce drug costs and make it easier to get generic medications to the marketplace.
On news that local Democrats including Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07) had rallied in Houston earlier Saturday to call for expanded background checks for gun purchases, Crenshaw said that while some polls show support for such measures, a full explanation of policy specifics and effectiveness reduces public support.
Crenshaw said the universal background check proposals would prevent selling guns to a friend or loaning a gun to a neighbor, and that criminals would not comply.
“You can’t connect universal background checks to reducing gun violence; not a single study does that.”
“We will educate the public on what these policies actually mean and how they infringe on your freedom without actually doing any good.”
On the topic of growing coronavirus (COVID19) fears, Crenshaw said the virus did not need to be politicized, but that Democrats had done so “wildly and unnecessarily.”
“Bloomberg had ads claiming that CDC (Center for Disease Control) funding had been cut, which is fundamentally not true,” said Crenshaw.
“I thought the president’s briefing was very good. They were honest and candid; they said it may spread and we are going to be prepared for it when it does.”
Crenshaw added that he had been in communication with local health departments in Houston and Harris County regarding coronavirus preparation.
As for the upcoming campaign and rumors that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) might target his “likely Republican” district, Crenshaw said he knew the Democrats were going to “fight really dirty and try to tarnish my reputation,” but he was ready and would be fighting back. He added that he had already donated to a Republican running against DCCC Chair Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL).
“The Democrats do not have a good message going into 2020. They’re trying to sell the American people on a crisis, and they don’t want you to believe your lying eyes.” With the lowest unemployment in 50 years, he said, “you can’t sell the crisis they’re trying to sell, and you certainly can’t sell socialism.”
Three Democrats are running in Tuesday’s primary: Sima Ladjevardian, Elisa Cardnell, and Travis Olsen.
The most recent campaign finance reports indicate that Crenshaw has over $2.6 million cash on hand, more than five times the amount held by the Democrat candidates combined.
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Holly Hansen is a freelance writer living in Harris County. Her former column, “All In Perspective” ran in The Georgetown Advocate, Jarrell Star Ledger, and The Hill Country News, and she has contributed to a variety of Texas digital media outlets. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a degree in History, and in addition to writing about politics and policy, also writes about faith and culture.