If you’ve ever donated money to a Democrat, the chances are you’ve ended up on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s list. (And if you’ve ever been pestered by robocalls for a Democrat you’ve never heard of, from a district you don’t live in, you’re definitely on their list.) Currently chaired by Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), the group describes itself as the “official campaign arm of the Democrats in the House of Representatives.” Which sounds pretty innocuous.
That’s what Laura Moser thought, too. The founder of Daily Action, a text-messaging service launched after Trump’s election that sends its 300,000 subscribers one concrete call to action every day, Moser, a fifth-generation Houstonian, recently moved back home from Washington to run for Congress. Although Texas’s seventh district has been in Republican hands since it sent George H.W. Bush to Washington in 1966, the wealthy Houston suburbanites who make up a large portion of its voters favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, making incumbent John Culberson look vulnerable. The Cook Political Report now calls the district a toss-up.
One of seven candidates in the Democratic primary to be held on Tuesday, March 6, Moser was at a campaign event last month when an aide pulled her over and said, “You have to see this.” This was an article in The Texas Tribune reporting that the DCCC had posted an attack on Moser on its website, calling her “a Washington insider” who’d said she’d rather have her “teeth pulled without anaesthesia” than live in Texas, and implying that she’d put her husband on the campaign payroll. Queried about what seemed like an unprecedented blast at a pioneer in the anti-Trump #Resistance, DCCC spokeswoman Meredith Kelly doubled down, claiming “Laura Moser’s outright disgust for life in Texas disqualifies her as a general election candidate and would rob voters of their opportunity to flip Texas’ 7th in November.”
Moser’s comments were actually about moving back to her grandparents’ home in Paris, Texas, a small town hundreds of miles from Houston. Moser’s husband, Arun Chaudhary, served as official videographer in the Obama White House before becoming a partner in Revolution Messaging, a firm that has also done work for the Teamsters, MoveOn.org, Daily Action, California Senator Kamala Harris—and the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.
When I spoke to Moser by telephone she said there had been “a lot of relitigating of the 2016 campaign” and that the attack on her may have been connected to her own support for Sanders. “But I was very active supporting Hillary Clinton in the general election. I rang hundreds of doorbells for Hillary,” she said. A detailed e-mail to Kelly asking which issues the DCCC considers when taking sides in a Democratic primary—or whether the criteria have more to do with a candidate’s funding—was never answered.