Podcast 24

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled Republican Texas Congressman Will Hurd about how he managed to get re-elected in 2018 in a blueish district, going against the national outcome. Congressman Hurd’s story is great, but the closing of the article is a lesson for all Republicans moving forward in how to approach outreach and communicating with communities that might be new to us. In this episode, we explore what new approaches might look like, and why the old ones are useless.

The concluding portion of the article that was read in this episode:

He tells a story about his first visit to Eagle Pass, another border town. Mr. Hurd showed up to a tardeada, an afternoon party, where there were hundreds of people. At 6-foot-4 he’s hard to miss, and he recalls that the band stopped playing when he walked in. “Everybody asked the question: ‘Why are you here?’ ” he says. “My answer was, because I like to drink beer and eat cabrito”—roast kid goat—“too. And everybody laughed. And the second time I showed up, people actually shook my hand, all right? Third time I showed up, you’d have people walk by”—he drops to a conspiratorial whisper—“and be like, ‘I’m a Republican.’ Fourth time, people would talk about some of the problems that they had. Fifth time, I was able to talk about, ‘Hey, here’s the way we can solve it.’ ”

His share of the vote in that county has since risen from 18%, to 21%, to 27%. “Now, it’s not huge,” Mr. Hurd says, “but that delta is what makes up—you know, you put those together in 29 different places, and this is how you win.”

Podcast 16

Show Notes:

Texas Republicans, led by candidate Peter Flores, won a special election on Tuesday in the Texas State Senate. Hillary Clinton won this district by 12 points just 22 months ago, and Flores won by 6 points on Tuesday evening. This district has not been represented by a Republican in the State Senate since 1879. That’s right, 1879. Rutherford B. Hayes was president in 1879. And Albert Einstein, he of the theory of relativity and E=MC2, was born in 1879.

Nationally, Republicans should take heart from this victory and keep fighting. Do NOT fall for the media’s narrative of a “blue wave” or unicorn dust or anything else. Get out there and persuade the people on the fence, the people who decide late, that you are the right person for the job.


Ideas and big issues win elections. While the Republican party has all the modern ideas, and the Democrats continue to push the unimportant, uninspiring, and unworkable agenda, even devoted Leftist John Kerry is telling the Democrats they are wrong for Democrats to be talking about abolishing ICE and impeaching President Trump:

Winning AmRen Client Gilbert Pena Feature In Sunday Paper

Theodore Schleifer of the Houston Chronicle wrote a Sunday feature on American Renaissance Political Consulting Group client Gilbert Pena’s upset victory in November.

houston-chronicle

 TEXAS POLITICS

Perseverance, work ethic define area’s newest state rep

By Theodore Schleifer
December 27, 2014

gilbert-pena-american-renaissance-pcg

By the time Harris County’s conservative leaders fished for their car keys at their Election Night watch party, there were few candidates left to congratulate. Nearly every Republican had won, and each had earned a handshake or name-check from the movement’s political class. Every one, that is, but Gilbert Pena.

Pena finally had triumphed in his fifth run for political office to score the biggest local upset of the evening, but his name remained unsaid. Amid the post-election jubilation, the new state representative was unnoticed. Pena’s supporters would argue that’s because he had been underestimated – again.

“If you underestimate Gilbert Pena, you’re making a mistake,” said his treasurer, Bill Treneer.

Pena, an unassuming retiree derided as a perennial candidate by those Republican signal-callers, rode a GOP wave to oust Pasadena Rep. Mary Ann Perez by 155 votes in November. Pena struggled to woo any donors or political support – Perez’s war chest was 250 times the size of his – but the short and reserved man is used to upending how others perceive him.

The 65-year-old rose from a hardscrabble early life to become a new legislator thanks to a work ethic that can make him impossible to ignore.

Learning to read

Neither of Pena’s parents was in the picture when he moved to Houston in first grade to live with his aunt. She spoke only Spanish, and that showed in the classroom.

Teachers would ask the future state representative to read English – which he insisted he could – and when he inevitably failed his teachers’ challenges, he had his first experiences with racism and hatred, Pena said.

“You can’t read,” his first-grade teacher said, according to Pena. “Don’t you ever tell anybody you can read.”

He continued to tell them just that, even if he had to spend three years in first grade. He sat in the back of classrooms, avoiding pesky classmates as he taught himself quietly to do what other kids had done for years. When he reached Ms. Walker’s seventh-grade classroom, he believed he had made some progress with his reading.

“How come Gilbert’s just reading a book?” one classmate asked Ms. Walker.

“Don’t you worry about what Gilbert’s doing,” Pena recalled her saying. “I got him on a special assignment.”

After Walker’s first year with him, she no longer separated him from the rest of his T.H. Rogers Junior High class.

“If God told her, ‘Ms. Walker, you can’t make it into heaven unless you can tell me one person you did good by,’ ” Pena said wistfully last month, “she could point down to me and say – ‘Gilbert, right there.’ ”

He finally had learned to read, but that skill wouldn’t help support his aunt at home. So, Pena began busing tables for 50 hours a week at El Patio on Westheimer Road. At 50 cents an hour, Pena’s weekly paycheck meant his aunt no longer had to pick cotton to make the same $25 a week.

“We did anything to make a dollar for our parents,” said Ben Pena, Gilbert’s first cousin. During the summers, Pena and his two younger brothers would visit Ben’s family in Wharton County to pick cotton and pecans from sunrise to sunset.

To make those dollars, Pena admits he short-changed his education, which he began to view as merely offering a bus ride to his job at the country club. When he had washed the last dinner dish there, he would walk the three hours home.

‘I had to do something’

He soon dropped out of high school to work three or more jobs at once. A paper route in the morning. An eight-hour shift at a steel company in the afternoon. Cleaning offices at night. Odd job led to odd job for the next two decades. Before long, inevitable layoffs would slide Pena down the ladder back to minimum wage work, erasing any gains he had made since high school.

“I had to do something that would better my life,” he said. “I’m getting to an elder age and I’m thinking, how much longer am I going to have to work like this?”

A drunken driver whose vehicle busted through the median on Interstate 10 accelerated his timeline. The accident wrecked Pena’s left knee, but it also forced him out of his newfound trucking job and created time for college – something no teacher, not even Ms. Walker, believed he could enter or finish. He earned a political science degree from Texas Southern University at age 47.

Pena later found some financial stability installing refrigerators across Texas, working weeks at a time on trips that capitalized on his work ethic and built the bank account to raise his four kids. He spent any free time he had feeding, bathing and tending to his special needs son, who today is 25 and still lives with Pena and his wife.

“I don’t think I could do that 24/7,” said Ben Pena. “But he does it with a smile on his face.”

As he became more secure, the Pasadena resident’s thoughts began to turn to politics as he saw rising taxes cut into what he had earned. He ran for state Senate in 2008 to “get my name out,” he said, and his performance in the Republican primary encouraged him to run for state representative in 2010. His retirement in 2011 enabled him to treat the campaign like a full-time job in 2012. He lost then, too.

Almost no funds raised

Pena said he was unsure about running for the Legislature a fourth time this year. He decided he would make a bid only if he received assurances from Austin power brokers and political action committees that they would financially support him.

And he received those assurances, he said.

But when Pena’s campaign manager, Temo Muniz, presented Pena’s proposed path to victory to Texans for Lawsuit Reform and Associated Republicans of Texas, two of the state’s premier conservative PACs, neither one cut checks, Muniz said.

So, Pena worked even harder. He raised virtually no money and had none of the professional frills that typically accompany a legislative race in one of Texas’ few competitive districts. Instead, he knocked on doors for around four hours every day, almost always by himself and pitching the district’s Hispanic voters a socially conservative message.

“I’ve never seen a guy who works that hard from dawn till dusk every day,” said Treneer.

And he won.

Pena does not have any policy experience or expertise – he does know he plans to support Joe Straus for speaker and that he cares most about education issues – but he said that his “hard times” separates him from the lawyers and businessmen who dominate the Legislature. Many of them have called him to offer their congratulations, but he said he will remember that the Austin establishment never had his back.

“I want to be able to come back and say, ‘You didn’t believe in me,’ ” Pena said. “I’m waiting. They’ll come knocking.”

Congressman Culberson Backtracks, May Get Bold

Congressman John Culberson GPH Consulting

By Steve Parkhurst

Congressman John Culberson of Texas recently posted on his congressional website that he was wrong about the Patriot Act and he now regrets that he ever voted for it. The best part about his mea culpa is that now he is really going to challenge some of the existing, over-bloated bureaucracy in the federal government.

This could get really good:

I intend to start by filing legislation to start systematically shutting down the federal government by restoring the 10th Amendment powers of the States and restoring absolute individual liberty and privacy.  I will begin with shutting down the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and strictly limiting its mission to securing our borders and ports of entry and tracking, detaining, and deporting foreign nationals. I will also figure out how to repeal and/or roll back the Patriot Act to restore the absolute right to privacy that every law abiding American citizen is supposed to enjoy.

– –

I regret that I voted to create the Department of Homeland Security and I regret that I voted for the Patriot Act. I never saw evidence of abuse of our privacy because Congress was lied to just as the public has been lied to. I will work hard to undo the damage these laws have done to our liberty, our privacy, and our Republic. I will be a zealot on restoring our liberty and shutting down as much of the federal police state as I can.

Artemio Muniz on The Mark McCaig Show

Artemio Temo Muniz was recently interviewed on The Mark McCaig Show, in Houston on KNTH AM1070. Temo and Mark talked about a whole range of topics including Hispanic outreach, Marco Rubio, Jack Kemp Conservatism, demographics and the recent Senate District 6 election in Houston. Listen to the interview and feel free to share it with others.

What are your thoughts? Do you have the magic solution to immigration and the changing demographics of America? Share them with us here, or Tweet us.

Texas State Rep Raul Torres Releases E-Book

By Steve Parkhurst

Texas State Rep Raul Torres has released his first e-book and it is well worth reading. The e-book, Prioritize, Stabilize, and Incentivize: An Economic Plan for Texas in the 21st Century, is free to download, read and share. While the book is specific to Texas, anyone at any level of policy making can learn from and enjoy this book.

David Jennings at Big Jolly Politics has written about the book and he has also embedded the book for easy scrolling.

Take a look at the book and let us know what you think.