Back in October, Texas Rep. Pete Sessions made it very clear that he didn't want major GOP outside groups coming to his aid, bragging that he "begged the NRCC, even when I was chairman, ‘Keep the hell away from Dallas, Texas,'" and that, "We need to go in somewhere else, it’s up to me to win in Dallas, Texas. It’s not up to some other group." Well, 10 months later, the Congressional Leadership Fund has decided to get the hell into Dallas, Texas, and they've announced that they've reserved $2.7 million for TV ads that will start next month. CLF chief Corry Bliss also declared that, "This is only the beginning, not the end of our investment."
Even a few months ago, it looked like Sessions, who is a strong fundraiser, could hold his own in this race without outside help. However, while Sessions held a wide $1.87 million to $943,000 cash-on-hand edge at the end of June over Democrat Colin Allred, that's a considerably smaller gap than the $1.5 million to $220,000 lead that Sessions enjoyed three months before. National Democrats also have smelled blood, and House Majority PAC reserved $2.2 million in March to go after Sessions in the fall.
It also doesn't help that, despite his earlier bravado, Sessions very much doesn’t appear to have what it takes to win on his own. The congressman, who is facing his first competitive general election since 2004, made news last month when he bizarrely blamed a woman for her own murder at the hands of her husband, saying it was because she was being "unfair."
And for all his experience leading the NRCC during the 2010 GOP wave and in 2012, Sessions also doesn't seem to have settled on a basic strategy for how to deal with Donald Trump, who lost this seat 49-47 four years after Mitt Romney carried it 57-41. In May, Sessions told McClatchy that he'd welcome a visit from Trump "with open arms," adding, "Can you invite him for me?" However, it was only two months later that Sessions refused to tell Politico if he'd even campaign as a Trump ally, though he did add he didn't "think there’s any question that from time to time the president’s numbers are not where I’d like them to be." National Republicans also seem to have decided that Sessions' numbers aren't where they'd like them to be.