FORT WORTH, Texas - For the first time in Republican Congresswoman Kay Granger’s long career in the House of Representatives, she is facing a serious challenge from former Colleyville City Council member Chris Putnam.
The tough race is happening in Congressional District 12, which includes Fort Worth, all of Parker County and part of Wise County. Both campaigns hope to secure the president’s base, proving they will fight for Texas values in Washington.
Chris Putnam has the backing of the ultra-conservative and controversial "Club For Growth". The group opposed Donald Trump during the 2016 Republican Primary and spent $7 million to derail his candidacy. They are now helping Putnam’s campaign spend $1.5 million on attack ads against Granger.
The club’s president and former, Indiana Congressman David McIntosh, claim’s Putnam better represents the fiscally conservative values of voters in the 12th District.
“She’s not paying attention to the voters,” said McIntosh. “She has a great record on city council for cutting spending and restricting government to its essential and necessary provisions.”
McIntosh and Putnam also accuse Granger of not being supportive enough of the administration’s agenda in Washington.
“We need more business outsiders like the President that come in and look at the problems of government in a different way," Putnam said.
President Trump voiced his support for Granger in Dallas back in December.
“The President and I get along very well because what’s important to me and the work I do in Congress is what’s important to him - that’s keeping us safe,” Granger said.
As the ranking Republican member on the powerful Appropriations Committee, Granger has wrangled billions of dollars in defense contracts for Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin. Both companies employ thousands of people in her district.
UNT Political Science Professor Kimi Lynn King calls this an unconventional race, saying, “Right now there is a battle going on for the heart and soul of the Republican party.”
King said women in the suburbs will be the group to watch at the polls, believing Granger may have an advantage.
“They have reached almost a kind of legendary status inside Texas because they have been so successful in being able to put forward the candidates that ultimately go on to win," King said.
In 2018, 14 of the 17 candidates backed by Club for Growth won their races. Records show Granger's campaign has raised about three times as much as Putnam, but the Super PAC and Putnam's funds combined are nearly equal to her fundraising.