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Wed October 16, 2002
Race progresses quietly in brand new 32nd District
By Kim Malcolm, KERA 90.1 reporter
Dallas, TX – Kim Malcolm, KERA 90.1 reporter: It's a mellow sunlit Sunday afternoon in a leafy North Dallas neighborhood. About 25 diehard Democrats have gathered for lemonade and cookies, to pick up lawn signs, and to meet their Democratic candidate for the 32nd Congressional District, Pauline Dixon.
Pauline Dixon, Democratic candidate, 32nd Congressional District: Thank you for coming, ma'am, I haven't met you, thank you...
Malcolm: Dixon radiates enthusiasm and grandmotherly warmth. She's 76 years old, a retired schoolteacher from Dallas, and is running on issues like protecting Social Security and universal health coverage.
Dixon: I would propose that we would have a national health insurance, that health care would be presented for all people ... where a person may go to the doctor, a hospital, and not be turned down.
Malcolm: This is Dixon's first try for public office. She may be the only person in the 32nd who thinks she can win.
Cal Jillson, Political Science Professor, Southern Methodist University: The Democratic party doesn't think Pauline Dixon is going to be the next Congressman from the 32nd District.
Malcolm: Professor Cal Jillson teaches political science at Southern Methodist University. He says the outcome of this race was largely determined a year ago, when a three-judge panel set the new district's boundaries in a heavily-Republican area, over the loud protests of some Hispanic lobbyists.
Jillson: The new 32nd, which is very compact ... it is ... generally an Anglo district, leaning Republican, and fairly wealthy.
Malcolm: Spread over northwest Dallas County, the district is 66% Republican, and includes the prosperous neighborhoods of Highland Park, University Park, and North Dallas. But when Pete Sessions, the three-term Republican Congressman from the 5th District, made the leap into this race, not everyone in Republican backrooms was happy. Harvey Kronberg is the editor of Quorum Report, an online Texas political newsletter.
Harvey Kronberg, Editor, Quorum Report: There was a fair amount of chagrin that what was considered potentially a swing district that could go Democratic would be put in jeopardy so Congressman Sessions could position himself in a much safer and more compact district. And the answer is yes, there were some unhappy Republican players at the move.
Pete Sessions, Republican candidate, 32nd Congressional District: Move to a safer seat? Well, I don't think anyone would have run against me if I had run in the 5th again. That seat was safe. That was not the question.
Malcolm: Pete Sessions bristles at the suggestion that he's left the 5th open to a Democratic win. He's an experienced campaigner, running on tax cuts and for allowing earners to put some of their Social Security into guaranteed interest funds. And he's not worried about defeating Pauline Dixon.
Sessions: I think she's a very kind and lovely woman, and I think she's very gracious. We obviously disagree on many issues, but I think it will be a very civil race, and I think that's good for both of us.
Malcolm: This year he's raised half a million dollars, compared to $1.8 million two years ago in the bitter fight against Regina Montoya Coggins. Pauline Dixon predicts she'll do better than expected, but has raised just under $10,000. For KERA 90.1, I'm Kim Malcolm.
To contact Kim Malcolm, please send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.