Five Republicans fight to challenge Edwards

February 15, 2010

Johnson County residents have the opportunity to weigh in on a number of local, state and federal races during the March 2 primaries. Of those races, the U.S. Congressional District 17 is the most crowded.

District 17 covers 12 counties, including Johnson County.

U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, filed for re-election in November, seeking his 11th term in Congress.

Five Republican challengers filed to compete in the March 2 Republican primary for the chance to face Edwards in the November general election, Waco resident Rob Curnock, College Station resident Timothy Delasandro, Bryan resident Bill Flores, College Station resident Dave McIntyre and Waco resident Chuck Wilson.

Several other Republicans contemplated entry but either changed their minds or failed to file before the deadline.

One potential candidate, Darren Yancy, chose instead to enter the state Senate District 22 race.

Talk of state Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, and former candidate Van Taylor entering the race proved unfounded.

Ogden decided to seek re-election, and Taylor, who ran unsuccessfully against Edwards in 2006, announced plans to run for the Texas House instead.

All five of the candidates who filed say they represent the best chance of defeating Edwards in November.

District 17, along with Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District, is the most heavily Republican district to be represented by a Democrat, according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index.

Rob Curnock

Curnock ran unopposed in the 2008 Republican primary but lost to Edwards in the general election.

He carried Johnson County in 2008 but failed to garner enough votes across the district to win the race.

Curnock said the support he gained during the 2008 campaign prompted him to enter the race again.

“Many of these supporters volunteered with us in 2008; many more are joining us for 2010,” Curnock said. “With the support of these volunteers and many more, I am confident that 2010 is the year we send a true conservative to Congress to represent the values and voices of central Texans.”

Curnock said he believes his “common-sense conservative message” of lower taxes, less government and more personal freedom will attract voters throughout the district.

“We have a real opportunity to elect a new congressman, if we nominate the right candidate,” Curnock said. “I am the only candidate in this race who has faced Edwards directly, and I’m not intimidated by a campaign against him.”

Timothy Delasandro

Delasandro said the way to achieve real change is for District 17 residents to send someone with their values to Washington.

Delasandro has called himself the conservative Republican in the race.

“If you can find a more conservative candidate, vote for them,” Delasandro said.

The 2010 race, Delasandro said, will show that people are tired of experienced leadership politicians who think they know better than the voters about what is right for the district and who are interested more in power than principles.

“There is only one candidate in this primary that consistently focuses this race on our conservative and constitutional values,” Delasandro said. “That’s me. I believe this election should be about our central Texas values and how to get those values faithfully represented in Washington.”

Bill Flores

The reason Republicans haven’t seen success in the District 17 race, Flores said, is that they haven’t run people who can challenge Edwards and win.

Flores said he is the only candidate Edwards talks about, because he believes Flores can beat him.

“When you go into the voting booth, think about who you want to see as your congressman on the floor,” Flores said. “I’ve balanced more budgets and created more jobs than any candidate in the race.”

Flores said he created hundreds of jobs while working in the energy sector and other businesses.

He said fighting the deficit, unemployment, out-of-control spending and the creation of jobs through the private sector would be priorities if elected.

Democratic leadership is out of touch, Flores said, and has put the growth of government in front of freedom and prosperity.

“Our district deserves a common-sense, conservative representative who has the experience to help create jobs, and the backbone to stand up and say, ‘No more excessive government spending.’?”

Dave McIntyre

McIntyre agreed that Republicans continue to lose to Edwards because they continue to nominate candidates who lack experience.

McIntyre characterized himself as a candidate who can go toe to toe with Edwards on issues Edwards considers his strengths, such as veterans issues.

McIntyre promised, with the help of voters, to take Edwards’ seat and return it to the residents of District 17 and to work to turn the country from what McIntyre called the wrong path.

“We’d better,” McIntyre said. “Because if we don’t get off this rocket sled to catastrophe Obama and Edwards have put us on, we’re going to be in real trouble.”

McIntyre said his 22 years of experience as a strategist addressing national issues puts him in good stead to challenge Edwards in November.

Charles Wilson

Wilson said he looks forward to challenging Edwards.

“Calling Chet a liberal is less effective than calling him an incumbent who hasn’t done his job,” Wilson said.

Wilson said he is campaigning on his life experience in government service and business, along with his conservative philosophy of limited government.

Wilson said his other priorities, if elected, include providing for a strong defense in the war on terror, development of programs to ensure clean energy and water, promoting free enterprise and less government control in business and the lives of Americans, and a return to conservative principals and traditions.

“Having grown up running along the banks of the Brazos River, I have a love and deep understanding of the people and issues in Congressional District 17,” Wilson said.
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