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Political Note #278   Sima Ladjervadian  TX CD 02

2020                            General Election

(This note is business as usual.  While the country deals with COVID-19, we also need to deal with the election in November. This Note is intended to help.).

I could not figure out how to write this Note.  Texas’s second Congressional District has two glamorous candidates for Congress.  I don’t know enough about glamour to describe it well.  I thought, maybe, I would say you could make a movie out of the situation.  Could I describe what the movie would be like or how it would end?  I could not.  I can describe the characters.

Dan Crenshaw is the Republican incumbent, elected in 2018. Look at him.  Eye patch reminiscent of Moshe Dayan.  Slightly grizzled beard.  A theatrical agent could distribute that picture. Crenshaw looks formidable when he’s not smiling; a little awkward and a little out of place when he is smiling.  Politicians need to achieve the art of looking formidable and friendly.  One of the hard parts of the job.

Dan Crenshaw is the son of an oil industry executive, he was born in Scotland.  He was a young boy in Ecuador and went to high school in Bogota, he is fluent in Spanish.  He graduated from Tufts, majoring in international relations.   He also graduated from NROTC at Tufts and was commissioned into the Navy.  He served as a SEAL, became a Lt. Commander, and was injured by an IED in the third of his five deployments.  He earned medals, including the purple heart and two bronze stars.  His eye patch is a  consequence of his injuries.  The memoir and advice book he is writing is a product of his military service.  He calls it Fortitude.

 What would you criticize him for?  His politics. He would repeal the Affordable Care Act.  He falsely claimed that an electoral reform proposal would legalize election fraud.  His mixed message on climate change is characterized by a call to listen to the science on “both sides.” Expressing support for Trump’s anti-immigration wall, he falsely claimed that 80 to 90% of asylum claims are not valid.

What would you criticize him for?  How he has dealt with the coronavirus problem. He ridicules the idea that the delay in developing tests was a product of Trump’s reduction in financial support for the CDC. He mocked California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu for calling Republicans xenophobic in calling COVID-19 the Chinese Virus.

What would you criticize him for?  Ambition.  Sima Ladjervardian criticizes him for neglecting his own district while attempting to become a national figure.  As she criticizes him, she demonstrates that it is not only women who can be criticized for ambition.

Sima Ladjervardian.  I like her photograph in a group.  Seven of the women named as Texas’s best dressed standing in front of Nieman-Marcus.  Attractive, wealthy, and, nevertheless, diverse.

Sima Ladjervardian is on the right. She knows what It means to seek asylum.  When she was fourteen, she and her family escaped the Iranian revolution to gain asylum in France, in Paris.  France was a stopping place.  She went to UCLA, then to the Hasting College of Law in San Francisco.  One website listed the languages she is fluent in besides English as Spanish, French, Farsi, and legalese.

Her husband Masoud?  When were they married?.  When did he come to the West? How much wealth did his family and hers take to their new life? I could not find this information on the internet. I do know that  Sima Ladjervardian’s husband has been involved in a dozen businesses.  Now he heads a firm that provides high end granite and the like for construction purposes.   Research on the internet will tell you how something about how much he earns.  Six figures, but it does not seem to be enough to make them super rich.

We do know that Sima Ladjervardian joined and became a partner of Bracewell & Patterson before creating her own firm in Houston. We know she is the mother of two children, a survivor of breast cancer. We know she has immersed herself in Houston’s public life.  Look at her immersion: That photograph of best dressed women front of Neiman Marcus is an echo of the Houston she has immersed herself in.  Her Houston is a diverse city.  Her Houston is interested in the Arts She is a trustee of the Museum for Fine Arts Houston and Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Museum’s Arts of the Islamic World Initiative.  Her Houston has room for people whose family origins vary – not only Sima Ladjervardian and her Iranian beginnings and the Latinos you would expect in Texas.   The Texas Executive  Progressive Council includes the heads of groups whose background is East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, even Europe.  Her involvement has been overtly progressive.  The Texas Signal, which she Co-Chairs, endorses progressive candidates throughout the state.  She chairs or co-chairs, founded or co-founded organization after organization devoted to her diverse Texas.

Some of Sima Ladjervardian’s involvement has been overtly political and partisan.  She was a member of Hillary Clinton’s national finance committee and chaired Beto O’Rourke’s financial efforts in Houston. Now, of course, she is running for Congress.

Sima Ladjervardian transformed her experience as a cultural powerhouse into a powerful political role. She began her campaign making a splash.  She filed her papers to run for Congress on December 9, 2019 – within hours of the filing deadline.  Within days, she announced she had raised $200,000.

The 2018 candidate, Todd Litton announced his support for her candidacy almost immediately.  He had lost by 7 points after running the strongest Democratic race for the seat since it became Republican.

In February, the Houston Chronicle, Houston’s largest newspaper and part of the Hearst Corporation, endorsed Sima Ladjervardian for the Democratic nomination. In the first round, she got a plurality, leading Navy Veteran Elisa Cardnell 48-31.  Cardnell declined the run off, leaving the contest against Dan Crenshaw to Sima Ladjervardian

Can Sima Ladjervardian win this district?  It is another odd shaped Texas district.   A kite?  A weapon?  A large north-pointing arrow northeast of Houston is attached to a tail or a whip that curves to the west, bends south to meet District 22 west of the city, then east again into Houston’s center. Its population is increasing.  Now one of the largest districts in the country as a result of the population increasing since the last redistricting.

Texas’s Second Congressional District is showing signs that it could be a Democratic district.  Beto O’Rourke lost the district in his Senate race, but got 49.4% of the vote. The district is just under 50% white. It is roughly 30% Hispanic, 12.5% African American, and 6.5% Asian and Pacific Islander.  This is a minority-majority, white plurality district with a Republican Member of Congress.

Texas’s Second Congressional District is relatively prosperous.  The median income is roughly $77,500. It is certainly not uniformly wealthy.  It is very well educated (more than 40% of adults in the district have a college degree).  Most important for Sima Ladjervardian’s chances, the district fits into the kind of inner suburb where Republican support has declined.

Help turn one more Texas Congressional District blue.  Sima Ladjervardian is a pretty good fund raiser.  She will have to be.  In February, she reported that she had spent about half of the $660,000 she had raised (a lot raised and a lot spent from her December entry).  Her opponent, who had no primary opposition, reported that he had spent about half of the $5.5 million he had raised.  If nothing else, Crenshaw is formidable as a fundraiser.  Help put Sima Ladjervardian in a position where she can compete and flip this district.

Below are Congressional seats Democrats are trying to flip from incumbent Republicans.  The ones with asterisks ran in 2018*  In 2018, Democrats flipped 40 Republican seats in the House.  Let’s flip 20 more. 


Arizona 06                        Hiral Tipirneni* to beat incumbent David Schweikert

California 50                     Ammar Campa-Hajjar* to win this now open Rep seat

Florida 16                         Margaret Good to beat incumbent Vern Buchanan

Illinois 13                          Betsy D Londrigen* to beat incumbent Rodney Davis

Indiana 05                        Christina Hale to win this open Republican seat

Iowa 04                            JD Scholten* to beat incumbent Steve King

Kansas 02                        Michelle De La Isla to beat incumbent Steve Watkins

Michigan 06                     Jon Hoadley to beat incumbent Fred Upton

Minnesota 01                   Dan Feehan* to beat incumbent Jim Hagedorn

Missouri 02                      Jill Schupp to beat incumbent Ann Wagner

New York 02                    Jackie Gordon to win this open Republican seat

New York 21                    Tedra Cobb* to beat incumbent Elise Stefanic

Ohio 04                            Mike Larsen to beat incumbent Jim Jordan

Pennsylvania 10              Eugene DePasquale to beat incumbent Scott Perry

Texas 02                         Sima Ladjervardian to beat incumbent Dan Crenshaw

Texas 21                         Wendy Davis to beat incumbent Chip Roy

Texas 22                         Sri Preston Kalkuri to win this open Republican seat

Texas 23                          Gina Ortiz Jones* to win this open Republican seat

Washington 03                 Carolyn Long* to beat incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler