9.4 C
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A Candidate at the Center of the Moment 

When Wesley Hunt spoke to two dozen curious voters in the backyard of a suburban Houston home on a cool night in September, he had just come from his doctor’s office after donating plasma for the possible treatment of others who had been infected with COVID-19. 

He told his doctor, “I’ll be here every week in this chair, if you need me to be here every week in this chair.” 

In that doctor’s chair and later in that supporter’s backyard, the black Republican running in a swing district found himself at the center of the American political moment in so many different ways. From race relations to the pandemic to the political fight for suburban Texas, Hunt says his personal experience with each topic brings a level of understanding that leaves him uniquely qualified. And at the center of everything is a place the West Point grad and former Apache helicopter pilot seems comfortable. 

“My life has prepared me for this very point,” Hunt told the Washington Free Beacon. “All these issues that we’re talking about it is very complicated. It’s not that simple. It literally is not black and white as people want to make it.” 

Hunt exuded a natural charisma during his backyard speech while flowing naturally between moments of levity and moments of poignance. He aimed for nuance when dealing with sensitive topics. He didn’t shy away from the fact that his family had experienced racism but emphasized it had also lived the American dream. 

“My great-great grandfather was a slave,” Hunt said. “He was born on a plantation about 60 miles north of Baton Rouge. His great-great grandchildren, three of them went to West Point, have multiple master’s degrees from Ivy League schools, have served our country with distinction, and have lived the American dream. And that can only happen in America.” 

He noted he was the only black person at the event, which he said “tends to be the case” in the seventh district of Texas, but said it did not matter. He said he believed the people gathered in that backyard were more concerned with the content of his character than the color of his skin. It was something he said he saw firsthand while studying at West Point with Americans from all different races and backgrounds—14 of whom made the ultimate sacrifice while fighting alongside Hunt oversees. 

“We arise every morning and put our feet on free, sovereign, American soil. Breathe free American air. Because these brave gentlemen died for us,” he said. “They didn’t die for white people or black people or Asian people or Indian people. They died for Americans.” 

Hunt wants to take that attitude of cooperation and patriotism to Congress—something he said his opponent, Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D.), had promised to do but failed to deliver on. He complained her voting record was too close to that of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D.). He promised to try and form coalitions with members of both parties—especially other veterans—and buck his own party when he thinks it is necessary. 

“The idea of just voting with Speaker of the House 99 percent of the time, that just doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said. “Even if it was a Republican speaker and if there were something that did not benefit this district, I would absolutely vote against it.” 

Fletcher did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Hunt presented a somewhat nuanced view of President Donald Trump as well. At one point he cracked a well-received joke about how the president’s tweets sometimes get him in trouble. But he also made clear he was endorsed by the president, plans to vote for him, and is largely in agreement with him on questions of policy. 

“I want you to trust me that, although President Trump sometimes can go a little bit off script, trust that I will interpret the policy that benefits the people in this district the best,” he said.  

He used part of his time with the group to talk about key policies that tower over the Houston district. He noted the Texas Fraternal Order of Police endorsed him over Fletcher and called the effort to defund police departments “absurd.” He said he’d work with President Trump on flood mitigation if elected. And he put the most emphasis on opposition to efforts by Democrats to ban fracking and restrict the gas and oil industry that powers many jobs in the district. 

“You’re not going to fuel an Apache helicopter with wind and solar,” he said to a laugh from the group. 

But while Hunt’s campaign says the policy contrast with Fletcher is important, it believes Hunt’s background and natural political ability will be what reverses the direction of Texas 7 and moves the seat back to the Republican Party. The campaign faces an uphill battle, with the Cook Political Report rating the district “lean Democratic.” But Hunt argues Fletcher’s 2018 defeat of Republican John Culberson was less a sign of the district trending more blue and more a sign of Culberson taking the district for granted. 

“I reject the idea that this is a Democrat seat,” he said. “I think we’re going to prove that here in November.” 

If people like Megan Beauchamp are any indication, Hunt’s message may be resonating with voters. After hearing Hunt speak at another small gathering, the small-business owner was inspired to get actively involved in politics for the first time. She volunteered to host the event—which featured hand sanitizer and free masks alongside the traditional campaign volunteer signup sheet—in her family’s backyard. 

“I heard hope in his voice,” she said. “I know that sounds a little cheesy but I felt enthusiasm and passion and optimism.” 

Beauchamp said she even invited neighbors who she knew weren’t Republicans because she felt Hunt’s message could resonate with them too. Hunt—who was recently featured in an all-star style ad alongside other Texas Republican candidates and Rep. Dan Crenshaw—didn’t shy away from his identity as a Republican but still seemed to craft his message to appeal to as many Americans as he could. His backyard speech didn’t downplay the problems facing the country, but it emphasized hope for the future and belief in the American way’s ability to get us there. 

“Do we have a ways to go? Yes, we do. Can we always work to get better? Yes, we can. Actually, that’s inherently what we do as Americans,” he said. “It’s why I love this country so much. And that’s why I want to stand for it and continue to be a beacon of light for the world.” 

Stephen Gutowski is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He founded his own site as a junior in college and has been writing about news and politics since that time. His email address is [email protected] His twitter handle is @StephenGutowski.


Latest news

Father and uncle of black man fatally shot by Philadelphia police condemn riots and looting: ‘You’re not resolving anything’

The family of a man killed by Philadelphia police earlier this week is condemning...

Zeta strengthens into hurricane on path to US with storm surge

The newly strengthened Hurricane Zeta headed early Wednesday toward the Gulf Coast, where it is expected to bring dangerous winds and a life-threatening storm...

Related news

Father and uncle of black man fatally shot by Philadelphia police condemn riots and looting: ‘You’re not resolving anything’

The family of a man killed by Philadelphia police earlier this week is condemning...

Rabobank: Half The Election Is Already Over By The Usual Standards

By Michael Every of RabobankWaves and WallsSix days to go now. Or rather seven days if you expect that we could see a US...

LA Dodgers’s Justin Turner tests positive for COVID-19 and celebrates World Series win with teammates anyway

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was informed he tested positive for COVID-19...

WTI Extends Plunge After Big Crude Build, Production Rebound

Oil prices were hammered overnight, accelerating after API reported an unexpectedly large crude build. European lockdown fears has ignited demand concerns and inventory data...

In an attempt at inclusivity, Tampax tweets that men get periods, too — and it backfires spectacularly

Tampon manufacturer Tampax has insisted that men can get periods, too, sparking a firestorm on social media for being anti-woman and more. What are...

Uber Sued For Firing Minority Drivers Who Get Poor Service Ratings From Customers

The latest chapter in the ridesharing soap opera that continues to play out across the U.S. (and notably California, where a court just ruled...

AOC says she doesn’t know if political future will be in House

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was reticent when asked about her political ambitions. ...

Trump Goes on Defense After NY Times Reports He Had Over $280 Million in Debt Forgiven

President Donald Trump is going on defense following a report by The New York Times that claims the president had over $270 million in...

Trending News

White House Blocks CDC ‘No Sail’ Order

The Centers for Disease...

DHS pushes back on reports lawyers can’t find parents of children separated at border

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman pushed back against a news story claiming that...

Secret Service Travel Logs Match Details in Alleged Hunter Biden Emails

Secret Service logs obtained earlier this year by Senate investigators include dates and locations matching those discussed in the emails allegedly belonging to Hunter...

Rasmussen poll says 46% of black voters approve of President Trump

A daily tracking poll of President Donald Trump's job approval released Friday showed an eye-popping surge in approval for Trump among black voters. According...

Joe Biden Boasts Of ‘Most Extensive’ Voter Fraud ‘In The History Of American Politics’

Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden recently bragged that Democrats have created the “most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American...

Joe Biden was the “Big Guy” Getting 10% of the Deal With Chinese Businessman Says Insider

  Among the second set of documents released by the New York Post last week were emails involving two different business schemes Hunter Biden is...

Former never-Trumper James Lindsay on why he just CAN’T vote for Joe Biden

This is a moment "Cynical Theories" author James Lindsay probably hoped would never come. The liberal mathematician and host of the "New Discourses Podcast"...

Cycle Threshold Value Missing in CCP Virus Case Numbers: Experts

News Analysis Since the beginning of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, policymakers in the United States have relied heavily on the daily positive cases—confirmed by...