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Democrat Colin Allred Ousts Pete Sessions, Turning 32nd Congressional District Blue

Democrats are now in control of the House of Representatives — and North Texas Democrat Colin Allred will be joining them to form the new majority.

He’ll represent the 32nd Congressional District after defeating longtime Republican Congressman Pete Sessions.

In a ballroom at a swanky hotel in North Dallas, Colin Allred told his fans that his win is a message.

“It’s a message to everyone in Congress, in the halls of the White House, that we are ready for real leadership,” he said. “We’re ready for fresh ideas, for real change.”

Allred will be the first Democrat to represent the 32nd District, which includes northeastern Dallas County and a chunk of Collin County. In the 2016 presidential election, the district voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump — a signal that an energetic Democrat like Allred could run an aggressive shoe-leather campaign and turn the district blue. 

“This election alone is not the change that we seek,” Allred said Tuesday night. “We have a lot of work to do and I need you to be with me every single step of the way. Will you do that?”

The crowd cheered.

Allred is a civil rights lawyer who once played in the NFL and served in the Obama administration. Jill Cochran volunteered with his campaign.

“He’s the real deal: humble, genuine, and he cares about the district,” she said. “And it just means the world me that he’s the one.”

In a different hotel ballroom – this one in downtown Dallas, with a thinner, more somber crowd -- Sessions thanked his supporters for two decades in Congress, and said he'd leave office with his head held high, proud of the service he was able to give to the district, and proud of the work he did to help build a vibrant, booming economy in North Texas.

“What irony that is is that which we have built has also turned us into a larger metroplex that has gathered people from all over the country – including from parts of our west,” he said, referring to Californians.

Sessions said they’ve “come to Dallas and perhaps not really understood the true nature of Texas.”

While changing demographics surely played a part in Sessions’ loss – a growing suburban frustration with President Trump, and an energetic newcomer with a message of unity, combined to flip a one-time Republican stronghold into Democratic control.

Christopher Connelly is a reporter covering issues related to financial instability and poverty for KERA’s One Crisis Away series. In 2015, he joined KERA to report on Fort Worth and Tarrant County. From Fort Worth, he also focused on politics and criminal justice stories.
Anthony Cave reports gun culture as part of a new national reporting collaborative called Guns & America.