Because of the asymmetry in the online presence and energy of the pro-gun and pro-regulation crowds, most of our inbox is filled with an unfortunate melange of articles from the NRA's website and some pretty upsetting things from right-wing, pro-gun blogs. We've resigned ourselves to that from the moment we recognized the sort of research we'd need to do. That's why it's always extra exciting when we find good, in-depth, local news coverage of a campaign, like this article from Jasper Scherer in the San Antonio Express-News:
For years, Democrats have tried in vain to uproot Rep. Lamar Smith from his 21st Congressional District seat, and political analysts saw little reason to suggest 2018 would be any different.
Every two years since 1986, voters in the right-leaning district endorsed the views of Smith, a skeptic of mainstream scientific views on climate change and a stalwart backer of Donald Trump’s agenda, often electing him by margins north of 40 percent.
Now, with 18 Republicans vying for Smith’s seat and early voting for the March primaries starting in less than seven weeks, the Democratic candidates — Derrick Crowe, Joseph Kopser, Elliott McFadden and Mary Wilson — have turned their attention inward as they seek to differentiate themselves.
While we will support any of the Democrats who win this primary over any of the Republicans, we have endorsed Marine veteran and small business owner Joseph Kopser based not on any litmus test of liberalism, but on our belief that he is the best candidate in the race, and therefore best positioned to move this district towards the future, especially when it comes to firearms regulation. It also doesn't help that he's shown the fundraising ability required to win in a district like this. But the article also touches on another aspect that appealed to us - Kopser is not your father's Democrat:
...Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton has endorsed Kopser, while Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff announced his support in December, saying he planned to stay connected with Kopser’s campaign through the primary.
“I've always felt the Democratic Party is missing some outstanding candidates that are still young, that have a military background,” Wolff said. “That he combined that with entrepreneurism, it’s very rare to find a candidate like that.”
While Kopser's primary opponents are using these endorsements and his campaign infrastructure (Doug Jones consultant Joe Trippi is on the payroll) to ding Kopser's progressive bonafides or tying him to "Washington insiders", these attacks only serve to highlight that most of the differences between the candidates on the Democratic side of the ledger are stylistic. Even one of the more pointed attacks - that Kopser is somehow a "centrist" - seems half-hearted when you consider he is running a competitive campaign in a district like Texas-21 with transgender rights, gun regulation, and moving toward 100% renewable energy as planks in his platform. Fellow Democrat Mary Wilson put it best:
Wilson said she thought all four Democrats “see eye to eye” on most policy issues. The crowded race should be a boon to the eventual primary winner, she said, because four Democratic primary campaigns will reach more voters on aggregate than a single operation would — possibly spurring higher turnout in November.
There's no reason that his primary race shouldn't be a net positive not only for the eventual winner, but for the Democratic Party in general. We hope the differences in style and tactics lends itself to a good, constructive debate and a strong candidate leading a united party into November. It remains our firm belief that Joseph Kopser is that candidate.