Fresh TX-24 polling conducted on behalf of the DCCC shows Candace Valenzuela leading Republican nominee Beth Van Duyne by 6 points (45-39), with Vice President Biden leading President Trump by 6 points (51-45). The poll was conducted from 6/11-6/15, with a sample size of 400 and a margin of error of +/-4.4%.
“Candace Valenzuela is an inspiration to those who have been told to think smaller. Overcoming childhood homelessness, the first in her family to go to college and defeating an 18-year incumbent to be elected to her school board, Candace has always beat the odds. While Beth Van Duyne wants to strip health care away from Texans in a pandemic, Candace Valenzuela knows what it’s like having to work multiple jobs to afford a health care bill. A rising star within our party, Candace’s voice is desperately needed in Washington today and that’s why we look forward to flipping this seat and electing the first Afro-Latina to Congress.” – DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos
To: Interested Parties
From: Avery Jaffe, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: July 14, 2020
Subject: UPDATE: The Case Against Beth Van Duyne
Faced with an open seat in a Democratic-trending district caused by Rep. Kenny Marchant’s retirement, Republicans have coalesced around top Trump acolyte Beth Van Duyne. Meanwhile, Democrats have chosen nationally-watched Candace Valenzuela, whose compelling story and deep community ties have made this seat another Lone Star pickup opportunity this November.
And boy, has Van Duyne wanted this particular seat in Congress for a long time. Van Duyne spent years building up her political profile at the expense of her constituents – looking ahead to the day that she’d finally be able to run for this seat.
But, TX-24 is quickly diversifying and with the suburbs running away from President Trump and Washington Republicans’ toxic agenda Van Duyne now finds herself running in an unfamiliar district primed to reject her history of self-serving arrogance and flirtations with the far-right. Candace Valenzuela reflects the community she grew up and the values of this fast-changing district.
Van Duyne’s xenophobic record as Mayor of Irving was toxic enough to land her a feature on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog, complemented by a posh job in the Trump administration.
Van Duyne and Trump are inextricably intertwined, which doesn’t bode well in this fast-changing district that has gone from a Republican stronghold to supporting Beto O’Rourke last year. And her deep connection to Trump will be a liability when she is forced to own his policy agenda, particularly his dogged support for repealing our current health care system, undermining vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Candace’s work on the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District Board of Trustees has provided better teacher pay, safer classrooms, and better education for North Texans, and she will carry her results-driven approach to Congress. In contrast with Beth Van Duyne’s record of failed leadership, Candance knows how to put her head down and get to work. And with a compelling personal story of triumph over near-impossible odds, Candace Valenzuela has the authority and the grit to flip this seat.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“Behind closed doors at City Hall, some who have worked with Van Duyne recall a contentious, sometimes caustic personality.” [Dallas Morning News, 3/24/15]
HEADLINE: “Irving Mayor Loses Dallas Cowboys, Mind” [D Magazine, 8/12/13]
“Again, Irving is left with a loss and its consequences.” [Dallas Morning News, 8/15/13]
“Who’s upset? People like Jerry Jones, who has told friends he will never do business with Van Duyne again and is ready to take the Dallas Cowboys headquarters to Frisco without offering Irving a chance to better that suburb’s enticing offer.” [D Magazine, August 2013]
HEADLINE: “Will Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne Sink Her City?” [D Magazine, August 2013]
“Critics accuse her of letting a personal grudge fuel her opposition to a new entertainment complex.” [D Magazine, August 2013]
“Bond has sued Mayor Beth Van Duyne for defamation after she called him a ‘whore’ in The Dallas Morning News last week.” [Dallas Morning News, 9/24/12]
EDITORIAL: “We’re concerned that former Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne’s vocal stances on many North Texas issues have added to that divisiveness […] we urge voters to continue to challenge Van Duyne on her vitriolic and puzzling crusade […] She helped push a baseless theory that he was part of an Islamist plot.”
HEADLINE: “Ex-Mayor Beth Van Duyne, Known for Anti-Sharia Crusade, Running for Congress” [Southern Poverty Law Center, 9/3/19]
Beth Van Duyne: A Career Politician Who Failed Up to Trump’s Swamp
MAKING TEXANS SICK
Despite North Texas becoming an epicenter for the COVID-19 crisis, Van Duyne has been relentless in her quest to strip health care coverage away from millions of Texans.
Instead of working with Democrats to preserve protections for pre-existing conditions, Van Duyne would allow insurance companies to discriminate against people who are victims of coronavirus – an extreme, dangerous policy position that would endanger the lives of thousands of her would-be constituents.
What’s worse, Van Duyne supports a scheme that would allow insurance companies to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions like cancer and asthma and let insurers discriminate against people when they get sick.
While Texas is reeling from this pandemic, Van Duyne has no solutions – just more of the same, tired Washington Republican talking points that are the exact opposite of what North Texans need.
USING TAXPAYERS TO ADVANCE HER OWN CAREER
Van Duyne has used her taxpayer-funded roles to advance her political career for years. As Mayor of Irving, Van Duyne’s high-profile endorsement of President Trump made her one of the nation’s only big city mayors to endorse him.
At Trump’s lowest moment in 2016, Van Duyne penned an op-ed citing her belief in God to defend then-candidate Trump after his horrific “Access Hollywood” remarks surfaced.
Trump remembered and Van Duyne was rewarded with a cushy taxpayer-funded job in Trump’s Department of Housing and Urban Development. Then, when she turned around to run for Congress, Van Duyne was immediately praised by HUD Secretary Ben Carson and later endorsed by President Trump.
A cynical and divisive career politician, Beth Van Duyne has been drawing a taxpayer salary while plotting this congressional run for a long time. Van Duyne’s 2016 Texas Observer profile revealed she “used to talk about running for U.S. Representative Kenny Marchant’s seat,” according to a senior Dallas political operative.
What she did in the following years was no accident.
A RECORD OF FAILURE
A 2015 Dallas Morning News profile on Beth Van Duyne’s recklessly divisive tenue as mayor of Irving lays bare the many aspects of Van Duyne’s record of failing Texas families. Here’s just one snippet:
“After four years of Van Duyne’s mayorship, her city looks much the same on the surface.
A lakeside retail development, which the mayor portrayed as imminent in early speeches, is still an empty field. A long-delayed hotel that will complete the city’s convention center must wait even longer, after the developer fell through last year. The Cowboys announced plans to move their headquarters to Frisco. The Byron Nelson golf championship plans to leave Irving for Dallas. A tennis team the city paid to move to Irving, at Van Duyne’s urging, is packing up for California.”
But instead of learning from the criticism she clearly earned, Van Duyne hated the Morning News’ coverage of her so much that she went on to freeze out the newspaper altogether, the Texas Observer wrote in 2016. That’s not the kind of leadership North Texas families need right now.
Van Duyne will have to answer for her jaw dropping use of far-right conspiracy theories to divide Texans in service of her political career. And in a district that is comprised of 36% voters of color, that track record of fear mongering and division will be an albatross around Van Duyne’s neck.
Under Van Duyne’s leadership, her city was transformed into a “hotbed of hatred” and her record of conspiracy theories was dissected on the SPLC’s “Hatewatch” blog. But Van Duyne’s far-right flirtations backfired in 2016 with Trump on the ballot, as voters rejected her hateful rhetoric and a diverse coalition of Texans came out in droves to oppose her.
… AND DIVISION
“Behind closed doors at City Hall, some who have worked with Van Duyne recall a contentious, sometimes caustic personality,” the Dallas Morning News wrote in 2015.
There was the time Van Duyne was sued by a constituent she called a “whore.”
There was the time Van Duyne was sued by her neighbor for stiffing her out of almost $2,000 in unpaid work.
PATH TO VICTORY
Encompassing the suburbs between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas’s 24th Congressional District is highly educated, reflecting the kind of congressional district that has rapidly swung toward Democrats in recent election cycles. The district has a strong composition of voters of color, with African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, and Asian American Pacific Islanders making up a combined 36.0% of the district’s eligible voters.
The district has shifted significantly toward Democrats in recent elections, with Clinton earning 46.7% in 2016 compared to Obama’s 38.6% in 2012. In 2018, Beto O’Rourke carried the district with 51.8% of the major party vote, while the 2018 congressional candidate earned 48.4%, holding Marchant to his closest margin ever in this district.
Now, as an open seat with a damaged Republican nominee, Candace Valenzuela is well-positioned to flip this seat with her strong record of service, battle-honed campaign operation, and national attention.