By Gallagher & Schleicher

There is but one thing shared by Baylor Bears and Texas A&M Aggies: a member of Congress. When it comes to replacing their retiring Republican Rep. Bill Flores, we today endorse for the Republican nomination a man known to friends like us and grand juries as simply “Congressman-1.”

That’s right, Pete Sessions. The former Dallas-area Republican congressman, the former and future Wacoan and son of former FBI director William Sessions. Why are so many saying, “Run Pete Run”? Why nominate to represent Waco a man not long ago trounced in Dallas by a former Baylor football player (Colin Allred)?

It boils down to: (1) economic opportunities; (2) a bit of magic; (3) Bill Flores discouraging us from picking Pete; and (4)–(5) two reasons we’ll have to save for the final paragraph below.

Money, Money, Money. Some support Pete because they want Waco and College Station to continue a steady pace of economic growth. Pete has valuable contacts with eager investors, not to mention pull with potential trading partners rich in national resources. Take his friends in Ukraine, for example. But let’s not assume befriending thugs in a single former Soviet republic is all he can muster.

After all, his dad — also a former Wacoan — was working for Russian oligarchs back before pimping oneself out to foreign enemies was cool. That’s right, Bill Sessions went from condemning Russian organized crime as FBI director to later representing a man the FBI described as one of Russia’s most powerful organized-crime figures. (Before you shout “fake news!” consider this tidbit is from the conservative April 17, 2007 Wall Street Journal.)

Yes, Pete could unleash a world of influence in this congressional district. Sure, Chip and JoJo Gaines are bringing 30,000 visitors a week to Waco, but why not diversify? If hooligans Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were willing to contribute $3 million to Pete’s campaign PAC simply because he sent a letter trying to get their least favorite ambassador fired, imagine how much they might pay if a whole town wrote them letters during any upcoming prison stay.

Pete apparently would help real estate values in the district as well. Rather than any personal failing, he blamed his loss in the Dallas-area election on “the liberal tide of people who have moved here from across the country.” Waco and Bryan/College Station would gladly take some of those property-tax-paying, arts-supporting, home-buying, sales-taxed liberals.

Hocus Pocus. Setting aside all things economic and political, chances are that like us you’re a fan of magic. Who doesn’t appreciate a mini-miracle now and then? You thus will surely be wowed to learn that among Pete Sessions’ greatest accomplishments was serving as chair (and sole member) of The Congressional Necromancy Caucus. Or at least that’s the sort of thing we would assume to be true, given his March 14, 2016, introduction of a resolution, “Recognizing magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure.” (“Rare” as in disappearing?)

Because Rep. Flores won’t endorse him. Democrats — who have come to distrust Flores a little more every time he defends Trump — have to ask if there is secretly something appealing about Pete Sessions. After all, Rep. Flores’ comments in multiple outlets about the possibility of Pete getting in the race we’ll loosely paraphrase as “surely we can do better” or perhaps “oh hell, I suppose I’d endorse him if he were the Republican nominee, but not a day before.” If Flores can find it in his heart to repeatedly defend Trump but has no praise for Pete, then Pete is either a spectacularly wonderful person who doesn’t need Flores’ help or is even more appalling than Trump.

Finally. Perhaps you still don’t believe that two progressive snowflakes like us really think Pete’s the best choice to get the Republican nomination for Congress. Oh boy, do we. We’ll confess it comes down to this: Pete’s got a proven ability to lose to a Democrat in a formerly Republican district — just what Central Texas needs. And if that doesn’t work, there is the chance a grand jury stands between him and a full two-year term.

David Gallagher is a transplanted Texan, living and working in London and tweeting at @TBoneGallagher. David Schleicher is an attorney splitting his time between Waco and D.C., blogging at This piece originally appeared in the Sunday, October 27, 2019 Waco Tribune-Herald, where the Davids are on the Board of Contributors.


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