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GOP leader Kevin McCarthy says Texas essential in Republican effort to seize U.S. House

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

McCarthy is swinging through Texas to raise money and meet with GOP candidates as 2022 election season blooms.

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, speaks, Thursday, Jan., 20, 2022, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Accompanied by dozens of House Republicans he commented on President Joe Biden’s first year in office. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)(Jacquelyn Martin / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

By Gromer Jeffers Jr.

Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said Texas would play a major role this year in the party’s efforts to seize control of the U.S. House and help sell the GOP brand to voters.

“Texas team will be a strong base for Republicans being elected,” McCarthy told The Dallas Morning News on Thursday. “I don’t think it’s just in Congress. It’s up and down the ballot, including school boards.”

McCarthy, the House minority leader from California, is in Texas this week to raise campaign cash for 2022 and meet with various GOP candidates for Congress. On Thursday he had a series of meetings in Dallas and Houston.

Texas has the largest Republican delegation to Congress, and it’s important for Republicans to hold serve or make gains during the midterm elections. The Texas Legislature fortified Republican congressional districts and split the two new districts earmarked for Texas with Democrats.

Republicans now have a 23-13 advantage in the delegation to the U.S. House. Analysts expect a 24-14 GOP advantage after the 2022 elections. State lawmakers bolstered the lone swing district in North Texas that is now represented by Republican Beth Van Duyne, the former Irving mayor.

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., right, speaks next to Chair of the House Republican Conference Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Thursday, Jan., 20, 2022, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Accompanied by dozens of House Republicans they commented on President Joe Biden’s first year in office. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)(Jacquelyn Martin / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

McCarthy’s visit comes as he finalizes the GOP’s “Commitment for America” platform for the 2022 midterm elections. The plan harkens back to 1994s’ “Contract for America,” created by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is helping McCarthy craft his plan.

McCarthy said the Commitment for America includes policies that protect and expand parental rights for educating children, develop economic policies that counter the rise of China, renew the push for energy independence, secure the nation’s southern border with Mexico and push familiar GOP themes related to cutting taxes and ending unnecessary regulation. The plan, which also involves several other House Republican leaders, is expected to be released this summer.

“As we bring these all together and lay it out to the entire American public, they’ll see this is exactly the legislation that will be passed and that they can trust us with the majority.”

But Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa criticized McCarthy’s visit to Texas. He said the Republican influence in Texas is waning.

“They were hoping that they were be able to redistrict to pick up seats in Texas,” Hinojosa said. “They were able to hold the line in a way that they aren’t going to lose any seats in Texas, but they won’t gain any seats either.”

As McCarthy pushes for a modern contract with America, some Republican candidates in Texas and throughout the country are running campaigns that highlight grievances advanced by former President Donald Trump, who continues to insist he won the 2020 presidential election. Hinojosa hammered that point.

“Their message to voters is that It’s all right to try to overturn the government through violence,” Hinojosa said. “It’s a commitment to an undemocratic America.”

While not mentioning Trump, McCarthy said voters would be the final arbiters of the political discourse.

“The public will always decide the most important issues,” McCarthy said. “The most important issue is facing the public right now is the rising cost of prices.”

McCarthy said Republican candidates would be boosted by a sentiment that President Joe Biden is leading the country in the wrong direction.

“The intensity level on the Republican side and with independents is greater than anybody can see right now,” McCarthy said, adding that voters are frustrated about rising prices for household needs, an “unsecure border,” and the prospect of schools being closed because of the pandemic.

McCarthy also defended the border security efforts of Gov. Greg Abbott, who is dealing with criticism that the Texas National Guard troops along the border were hastily deployed without proper equipment, regular pay or a clear purpose. Four soldiers involved in the deployment, which is part of an overall border security effort called Operation Lone Star, have died by suicide.

Abbott has said critics of the deployment are “playing politics.”

“I applaud the states for doing it, but they shouldn’t have to because it’s a federal responsibility,” McCarthy said, adding that things were better under Trump-era border policies. “President Biden should never have changed any of the executive orders. Before that point … the border was secure.”

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