Longshot Texas Democratic Women Candidates Might Get Needed Boost from Documentary
In Texas, Republicans hold the majority of state and county seats but if a group of Democratic women in North Texas have their way, that will change soon.
Odds makers put their chances of success near the bottom of the lower part of the scale but that has not deterred them and they may get a huge boost soon if a group of high profile filmmakers planning a documentary about first time female candidates includes them in the movie.
The filmmakers are due to begin gathering footage of the women at a strategy retreat in Dallas next week and experts say the North Texas Democrats could the exposure they currently lack from the documentary on their long-shot campaigns to flip Republican seats in 2018.
The film crew through Election Day will follow the Democratic candidates and other women from both parties who are running for office for the first time across the country. Episodes could begin running just as voters tune into the congressional elections next fall, although it is still not clear where the filmmakers plan to air the documentary or the candidates they plan to feature.
“Surge,” as the project is known, has some outstanding support. Award-winning producers Wendy Sachs, Tanya Selvaratnam, and director Hannah Rosenzweig met while campaigning for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The advisers of the project include Mikaela Beardsley of Half the Sky, a movie about oppressed women; Michael Epstein of MAKERS, a series that looks at how women have changed America; Wendy Ettinger of Chicken & Egg Pictures, and Simone Ward of Women Effect Fund.
Most of these North Texas Democratic female candidates are first-time office-seekers who will face grim general election chances next fall. However, their excellent coordination on campaign tactics is helping to draw attention to their collective efforts.
Jana Lynne Sanchez, a veteran public relations professional who is vying to challenge veteran U.S. Rep. Joe Barton in Texas’ 6th congressional district formed the group earlier this year through reaching out to other candidates to team up on a meet-and-greet in Allen, TX. The group has since expanded to 20 Texas candidates, running at state and federal levels, which interact daily as they navigate their fledgling campaigns.
Next month the group will meet for a campaign strategy retreat where Sanchez will teach a media training session. Constitutional scholar Sarah Depew, who is running in Texas House District 67 will host a discussion on constitutional matters.
“You do many souls searching when you decide to run for office and it can feel kind of lonely,” said Mica Ringo, who is running for the Democratic nomination in state house District 98. “This group is a good chance for us to learn from each other and ask questions in a safe space.”
One Texas Democratic strategist would have doubts about the candidates’ chances in 2018 if they did not raise enough money to mount formidable campaigns. The strategist said that “most of the candidates in that group have not raised anywhere near the amount of money to mount formidable campaigns and are running in districts that would be very difficult to win.”
The strategist singled out Ana-Maria Ramos in State House District 102, Brandy Chambers in House District 112 and Joanna Cattanach in House District 108, as the best prospects running in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016.
In U.S. House races, Vanessa Adia is challenging Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Lorie Burch is challenging Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Linsey Fagan is challenging Rep. Michael Burgess, (R-TX), and Danielle Pellett is challenging Rep. Pete Sessions, (R-TX).
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