Funny how things work. On November 3rd, 2010, I met a man named Robert Birch. We were at the Bill Flores Victory party in College Station…I was Live Streaming and he was celebrating a hard fought victory, having spent hours block walking and volunteering for Bill’s campaign. Robert was a college student and independent thinker, who now lives in South Korea as a teacher.
At that event, he asked if I’d be interested in working on a writing project called the Dogcatcher Project, a “drafting” blog founded by Adam Brickley, who created the Draft Palin for VP blogging site credited with creating much of the buzz about the unknown Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Brickley wanted to make an impact in several races across the country by repeating what he did on a larger scale, to include multiple candidates in several races. In short, he wanted to round-up the “dogs.”
We had a great time working on this project, and attempted to draft Conservative candidates to replace heavily favored Democrats in deeply rooted districts. From New York’s Amity Shlaes, to Michigan’s Hisham Kabbani, we sought out people who were not necessarily political, but rather contained the characteristics and qualities we felt would translate into great candidates. We wrote about them, trying to peak the interest of the media, as well as interest from the “draftee.”
I was responsible for two candidates. One in Texas and one in Michigan. In Texas, I looked to the border for someone who could, with support from the State Party, National Party and the people of their district, unseat the heavily entrenched Democrat, Ruben Hinojosa. In my research, one name kept appearing…Rebecca Cervera, a resident of McAllen, a border town in Hidalgo county. She’s a businesswoman and owns a U.S. Customs Import/Export company situated on one of the entry points in Hidalgo county. I learned she had run for a State House seat against Veronica Gonzales, an established Democrat well protected and supported by the Democratic machine in South Texas. Cervera campaigned with little financial support and was attacked by many in the media, the public and the “political system” in Hidalgo county.
In a district that is nearly 80% Democratic, Rebecca’s message obviously resonated across party lines. Despite amazing opposition, she drew 43% of the vote, proving that South Texas is open for any candidate who is willing to get in the trenches and provide real solutions. It showed that a sound Conservative approach will get people to vote for you, even if they’re traditional Democrats. It should have sent shock waves through the state as an indicator of possibility for the Republican Party.
But that message hasn’t gone out…instead, it quietly receded and Texas House District 41 is now occupied by (D) Veronica Gonzales.
The people of Hidalgo county are conservative. Most are Catholic and fiercely oppose the attacks of the Obama Administration on the Church. But, they only hear one side of the story. The Conservative voice is drowned out and shut down with efficiency.
Several months later, Rebecca and I began communicating through facebook. I realized she was a needle in a haystack, and kept our conversations going…learning more about the challenges and obstacles we face in the Rio Grande Valley. Once we built a strong friendship, I asked if we could interview her and have her show us around the region. She agreed.
As I wrote in a previous blog, “Spotlight : Texas Rio Grande Valley, Today’s New Ground Zero,” we made our trip to the border on January 14th-15th, 2012. Our visit included a full background Q&A along with an interview on her positions and values regarding issues of the day. This video is part 1 of 2, and is the beginning of our new series of impacting productions that position the Republican Party and Conservatism as the right choice.