There's little doubt that moderates will play a significant role in choosing Ron Paul's successor in Texas' redrawn 14th congressional district – but they won't be hearing much from Randy Weber. The self-described Tea Party candidate told the Houston Chronicle, “We don't knock on a lot of moderate doors, because my message doesn't really resonate.” It's no wonder, Weber's website touts the endorsement of “birther” Sheriff Joe Arpaio saying, “I have come to admire the way he sticks to his convictions even in the face of the strong headwinds of political correctness.”
The district is 53% Republican but Democratic nominee and former Congressman Nick Lampson has twice the positive name ID as Weber, who for the time being, seems more comfortable running against President Obama and “Obamacare” than his actual opponent. Energized Tea Party conservatives may have helped him win in the low turnout primary (and runoff) but it seems unlikely he can bank on riding Romney's coattails to Washington. The Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that many Texas delegates at the RNC are still unenthused and not fully committed to the Romney ticket. “The danger for Romney is that Republican voters simply won't show up to cast ballots,” said University of Texas professor James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project.
For his part Lampson knows he will need to gain the support of independents, moderates and even some Republicans, a skill and reputation he developed while in Congress. As a previous member of congress Lampson formed the largest bipartisan issue-based caucus in Washington, the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus. He also participated in the Center Aisle caucus which required each new member to join alongside a member of the opposing party with the purpose of bringing more civility to government. “There must be a relationship between the parties. Our key focus has got to be America,” Lampson told the Burnt Orange Report.