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The Case Against John Culberson

DCCC Spokesperson, Cole Leiter released the following statement:

“Democratic energy in Houston is undeniably surging, while Congressman Culberson is stuck on defense as he struggles to sell an unpopular tax bill, explain skyrocketing healthcare costs, and connect with voters who are sick of Republican-controlled Washington. Texas Democrats have been working hard for over a year to hold John Culberson accountable and flip this district blue, and after picking a clear frontrunner are in a strong position to win in November.”

To: Interested Parties
From: Cole Leiter, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: March 6, 2018
RE: The Case Against John Culberson

After nearly twenty years in Washington, Congressman Culberson has become a DC swamp creature – he’s still hanging on to his decade-old Tea Party playbook and hoping it will work in a district that swung more than 22-points towards Hillary Clinton in 2016. Now, with a clear Democratic front runner, voters in Houston will have the opportunity to finally retire this political relic.

This strategy is unlikely to work for Culberson, but he doesn’t seem to mind – or even notice. Instead of learning from 2016, he continues to march lockstep with Speaker Ryan and President Trump, despite his party pursuing a reckless agenda that hurts people in Houston.

Throughout his career, Culberson has voted for his party and against Houston repeatedly. He has voted against local infrastructure development – including opposition to bills that could have helped the city manage Hurricane Harvey. He has a long record of being anti-worker and anti-organized labor, and his part in the Republican war on affordable healthcare is deeply damaging. Moreover, at a time when voters are determined to drain Washington’s swamp, Culberson got caught using his government insider connections to buy and sell stock.

Culberson’s eagerness to back Trump, his years of undermining the needs and security of Houstonians, and his starring role in Washington’s swamp highlight just how far he’ll go to stand with his party, regardless of the damage it does to Houston.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING “…Culberson’s accomplishments for the 7th Congressional District, which covers west Houston neighborhoods from West University through the Energy Corridor, seem pretty thin. That historically weak record, combined with a district that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, has attracted a strong group of Democratic challengers for the general election.” [Houston Chronicle Editorial Board, 2/18/2018]

“Culberson was again outraised by two Democratic challengers… The two Democrats not only raised more than the incumbent during the period, but they also emerged from the quarter with larger war chests.” [Texas Tribune, 10/16/2018]

Headline: “Harvey’s Shadow Hangs Over Culberson’s Reelection Hopes” [Houston Public Media, 2/19/2018]

Headline: “GOP Rep. John Culberson Gets An Earful From Angry Voters” [Houston Chronicle, 3/27/2017]

Headline: “Culberson stock asset may prove political liability” [Houston Chronicle, 6/27/2017]


Culberson’s Inaction on Infrastructure Left Houston Unprepared

Houstonians, some of whose houses are still underwater after Hurricane Harvey, are paying the price for Culberson’s career in politics and his repeated votes opposing critical investments in Houston’s dams that were deemed to be at “high risk” of failure as early as 2004. Beyond voting with his party and against repairing deficient dams, Culberson has repeatedly undermined emergency response and preparedness in flood zones across the country. That shows how far John Culberson will go – since the beginning of his days in Washington – to stand with his political party, not the needs of Houstonians.

Self-Dealing Washington Insider

Culberson implicated himself in an insider-trading scheme, led by a fellow Republican Congressman, to make pharmaceutical stock purchases based on insider tips. As a reminder, this is the same scandal that dogged former Congressman Tom Price’s nomination to be President Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services. Culberson’s apparent use of insider knowledge for his trading is consistent with his record on ethics. Culberson voted against establishing the Office of Congressional Ethics in 2008. On this note, stay tuned…

98.5% with Trump, Not With Houston

Even when it hurts Houstonians, Culberson stands with Speaker Ryan over 90% of the time and President Trump a mind-boggling 98.5% of the time. That vote record is deeply out of step with TX-07, which swung against Trump by more than 22-points between 2012 and 2016. Culberson’s support for the Republican agenda, backed by President Trump, includes voting to jack up healthcare costs and jeopardize access to coverage for 62,800 of his constituents, and voting to raise taxes on millions of middle class families.


John Culberson has a long record of being anti-worker and anti-union. He has repeatedly co-sponsored legislation – the Davis-Bacon Repeal Act – to end the requirement that workers receive a prevailing wage on federally funded construction contract. Culberson has also co-sponsored Right-to-Work legislation in 7 different Congresses (107th, 108th, 109th, 110th, 113th, 114th, and 115th). On top of his decades-long record of hostility to labor, Culberson has also thumbed his nose at workers earning the lowest wages, having voted against raising the minimum wage 5 times, despite the fact that his Congressional salary has increased quite a bit since Culberson came to Congress.


TX-07’s big primary turnout reflects a state-wide swell in early voter engagement and energy on Democrats’ side. That increase in grassroots engagement does not bode well for Congressman Culberson, whose net negative favorability, recorded in a DCCC-conducted poll from November, puts him 13-percentage points underwater. On top of that, among modeled-Republican voters, Culberson’s weak personal brand leads him to underperform a generic-Republican by a full 11-percentage points.

The bad news does not stop there for John Culberson. TX-07’s makeup is more than 58% suburban, reflecting the kind of district that has shifted dramatically towards Democrats under Trump. That shift is evident in the more than 22-point swing at the Presidential level between 2012 and 2016, leading Hillary Clinton to win TX-07 by 1.4 points. Since 2016, the deeply unpopular, Washington Republican and Trump backed agenda on healthcare and taxes have made the President even more toxic, with the same DCCC poll showing Trump’s net-negative un-favorability to have grown to 7 points.

That’s a big problem for a Representative who is disliked and whose most distinguishing characteristics are his 94% Speaker Ryan and 98.5% Trump voting record.

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