The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Campaign signs dot area lawns

With the Nov. 2 election fast approaching, few congressionalraces have captured voters’ attention like the campaign forthe 32nd district in Texas. Rep. Martin Frost, D-Dallas, and Rep.Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, have campaigned for months to win over thediverse constituency of residents that live within the boundariesof the freshly-drawn district, and nothing illustrates this betterthan the countless campaign placards that dot the lawns of thearea.

Each candidate has distributed over 20,000 of the small yardsigns, according to officials from both campaigns.

“It’s a grassroots way for people in neighborhoodsto show who they are supporting,” said Chris Homan,Sessions’ campaign manager.

Justin Kitsch, the Frost campaign press secretary, said thesigns are a good way of showing the diverse groups of people thatsupport the congressman.

“We’ve got support all over the district,” hesaid.

Earlier in the campaign, the small yard signs were a source ofcontroversy for both candidates. Frost’s campaign accusedSessions of theft when they discovered he was stopped by police in2002 for putting his Democratic opponent’s signs in the backof his truck. Frost’s campaign was also under scrutiny whendozens of Frost signs decorated the school grounds ofSessions’ son on his first day of school. The Frost campaigndenied any connection with the incident. It has also been reportedthat both campaigns have had hundreds of sign thefts.

Despite occurrences of mischief, the race has remained verytight through much of the campaign season.

Paul Wehrle, a resident along Monticello Avenue whose yardsports a Frost sign, says that he believes Frost has a lot ofsupport, but he will be challenged by straight ticket voters whosupport President Bush.

“It’s an interesting district,” said Wehrle.”[Frost is] a really good campaigner…he’s done a goodjob with advertising.”

“I think Pete Sessions will win,” said Emory Murray,a Sessions supporter on Mercedes Avenue. “The Frost peopleare working hard though.”

Supporters for both candidates get their signs from thecampaigns. Both campaigns said they get many requests via email andtelephone. The campaigns also try to give out signs when they areidentifying possible supporters in the different precincts.”It is a worthwhile investment,” Kitsch said.

Homan agreed, saying that even with a campaign budget exceeding$4 million, the signs are a good way to drum up support for thecandidate.

“The best aspect of the campaign has been the stronggrassroots support,” said Homan. “It’s a realone-to-one, retail way of talking politics.”

Another point of contention that arose during the race is theredrawing of the congressional districts in last year. Many Frostsupporters believe that the new 32nd district was drawn to relievethe 26-year congressman of his position.

“It’s kind of interesting and complicated because ofthe way they did the redistricting,” said Wehrle, whobelieves Frost will do well because of the diversity of thedistrict.

The 32nd district includes parts of Dallas, Irving, GrandPrairie, Addison, Farmers Branch and Richardson. Thirty-six percentof residents within the district are Hispanic and 8 percent areblack.

The Texas Legislature redrew the congressional districts lastyear after much controversy about partisan gerrymandering. OnMonday the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an appeal saying that the newdistricts may be unfair to Democrats. The case will get furtherreview from a federal panel, but it will not affect the districtsfor the 2004 elections.

Levi E. Goldye, a resident on Monticello Avenue, said that TomDelay, the Republican U.S. House majority leader, and otherRepublicans were out of line when they pushed for the redrawing ofdistricts for the second time in 10 years.

Both incumbents are hoping to keep their jobs after theelection. Sessions, a native of Texas and a graduate ofSouthwestern University, has served in Congress for eight years andis currently on the House Rules Committee.

Frost is the senior Southern Democrat in the U.S. House as wellas the only Jewish representative from Texas. He represented the24th district before deciding to run in the 32nd after the newdistricts were drawn.

The battle for sign supremacy rages on in neighborhoods aroundDallas. Just ask Goldye who has a 4-foot square Frost sign in thefront yard of his house on Monticello Avenue.

Goldye says that when it comes to signs, “The bigger, thebetter.”

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