Democrats are hoping to make gains in Republican-leaning congressional districts by running moderates with biographies that appeal to center-right voters including veterans, gun owners, and football players, and in doing so have distanced themselves from the far-left of the Democratic Party. Yet despite packaging themselves as reasonable centrists, Democrats running in Texas and Kentucky are teaming up with a motivational speaker who has a history of hostile rhetoric and negative views of middle America.
Retired Lt. Col. Amy McGrath and former Tennessee Titans linebacker Colin Allred are running in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District and Texas’ 32nd District, respectively. Both candidates have been campaigning as centrists, and neither have endorsed extreme positions like, for example, abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But despite their carefully crafted images, they have been working with far-left-wing activist and motivational speaker Laura Gassner Otting.
According to her website, Otting is a professional motivational speaker who “helps innovators, idealists, and critics get ‘unstuck’ in their thinking.” Before becoming a motivational speaker, she was a political appointee for the Bill Clinton White House and then worked for several nonprofits.
Since Trump’s election, Otting has had several public Facebook posts where she commented about voters who didn’t support Hillary Clinton. “Fuck white males” and “Fuck bible voters,” she wrote in one August 2017 post.
The day after Trump won the 2016 election, she wrote, “Who knew that America was even more sexist than it was racist? And jeez, is it racist.”
Otting has also had several posts attacking the National Rifle Association.
Despite her openly attacking Christians and white men, and declaring that America is both a sexist and racist country, McGrath and Allred have held fundraisers in her home. According to Otting’s Facebook posts, McGrath had a fundraiser in Otting's home on June 25, and Allred had his event on Sept. 25.
In a call to the McGrath campaign, her spokeswoman said she could not speak on the issue at this time. An intern for the Allred campaign returned a call and said they would forward the message to the campaign spokesperson. The campaign has yet to contact me.
Both districts lean Republican, Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District is R+9, and Texas’ 32nd District is R+5, according to Cook Political Report. Nonetheless, despite the districts’ Republican lean and the fact that both incumbent Republicans won their last two elections with more than 60 percent of the vote, polling by the New York Times/Siena College showed incumbent Reps. Andy Barr, R-Ky., and Pete Sessions, R-Texas, both have just a one percentage point lead.
Ryan Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is a writer based in New York. He has no connections with either the Barr or Sessions campaigns.