Some Democrats and progressives are firing back at the Democratic Congressional Committee (DCCC) after the group surprisingly targeted one of their own: Texas congressional candidate Laura Moser.
The Democratic infighting comes as Texas holds the first in the nation Democratic primary on Tuesday.
The DCCC, which traditionally supports Democrats running for Congress, has described Moser, who is running in Texas’ 7th Congressional District, as a “Washington insider who begrudgingly moved to Houston to run for Congress.”
The DCCC points to an article that quotes her as saying she would rather have her teeth pulled without anesthesia than live in Texas. Moser says her comment was taken out of context.
“It’s something we would expect from the other side but not our own party,” Moser said.
The DCCC, which usually attacks Republican candidates, released the negative research about Moser last week.
Moser says she is disappointed in her party, but has received overwhelming support. By last Monday, more than $86,700 had been contributed to Moser’s campaign by about 4,515 people, with an average donation of $19.20, according to her press secretary. Sixty thousand dollars of that amount was contributed in the first two days following the DCCC’s post.
Moser was part of resistance movement following President Donald Trump’s election and created Daily Action, a civic engagement tool that drew a quarter of a million subscribers.
“Our Revolution,” a progressive group formed following Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, fired back at the DCCC with an endorsement of Moser, calling the group's attacks “ridiculous” and citing it as the reason “why Democrats nationally have lost over 1,100 seats.”
In a statement to ABC News, DCCC communications director Meredith Kelly said Moser's "disgust for life in Texas" disqualifies her from running and “would rob voters of their opportunity to flip Texas’ 7th District in November.
Our Revolution board member, Jim Hightower, countered that “the people of Texas should be allowed to make their own decisions on who to vote for without the influence of Washington insiders.”
The 7th Congressional District in Texas has been a top target for Democrats after Hillary Clinton won the district by a small margin in the 2016 election.
Rice University political science professor Robert Stein told ABC News that for a Democrat to win it, moderate Republicans would have to vote against their party. “The Democrats feel that they can’t afford to put in candidates that can’t win in November,” Stein said.
Other high-profile Democrats are criticizing the DCCC attack on Moser.
Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, told ABC News the DCCC “would be wise to be very careful about how many times it does something like that.”
Annie Weinberg, electoral director for Democracy for America, a strong supporter of Moser's campaign, released a statement saying: “Laura Moser is a fifth-generation Houstonian building a genuine grassroots campaign in her home community and, while that might not get the Republican-lite cheerleaders at the DCCC their sweet consulting gigs after this cycle, it’s exactly the kind of campaign we need to win this critical race and retake the House in November.”
Even candidates running against Moser have denounced the DCCC’s attacks. Her 7th District Democratic rival, James Cargas, released a statement calling the DCCC’s decision “unprofessional and shortsighted.”
“The DCCC should have realized the vast majority of voters in Houston do not find this to be disqualifying and its plans would backfire,” Cargas stated.
This is part of ABC News' "18 for '18" powerhouse political coverage of the 2018 midterm elections. An earlier version of this article inaccurately stated James Cargas was endorsed by the Houston Chronicle. TX-07 candidate Lizzie Pannill Fletcher is endorsed by the Houston Chronicle.