Rep. Kenny Marchant (R)
Elected: 2004, 3rd term.
Born: Feb. 23, 1951, Bonham .
Education: Southern Nazarene U., B.A. 1973, attended Nazarene Theol. Sem. 1975-76.
Family: Married (Donna); 4 children.
Elected office: Carrollton City Cncl., 1980-84; Mayor, 1984-86; TX House of Reps., 1986-2004.
Professional Career: Homebuilder, developer, 1975-2004.
The congressman from the 24th District is Kenny Marchant, a Republican elected in 2004. He graduated from Southern Nazarene University. A local homebuilder and successful developer, Marchant served a quarter-century in elected offices before running for Congress, on the Carrollton City Council, as Carrollton mayor, and then in the state House. He also has been active in private humanitarian projects around the world. The Ken Marchant Foundation funds church loans, mission projects and scholarships. In contrast to other upwardly mobile Republicans in Austin, he enjoyed a reputation on both sides of the aisle as a levelheaded peacemaker. Despite serving in some of the Legislature’s most partisan leadership posts, the mild-mannered and deeply religious Marchant managed to maintain a cool demeanor, even as his colleagues engaged in acrimonious battle. As Texas Monthly magazine wrote: “His role was that of the genial, kindly sheriff in a western who allows the cowboys to gamble, drink and fight—but when they show up at the jail, rope in hand, he stands on the steps and says, ‘Boys, just go on home and cool off.’ ”
|Kenny Marchant (R)||151,434||(56%)||($644,822)|
|Tom Love (D)||111,089||(41%)||($21,990)|
|David Casey (Lib)||7,972||(3%)|
|Kenny Marchant (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (60%), 2004 (64%)
Marchant had been chairman and floor leader of the Texas House Republican caucus and served on the House Redistricting Committee during the bitter 2003 redistricting battle. Unsurprisingly, the redistricting plan couldn’t have been more favorable to him. In their effort to draw a Dallas-area seat that former Democratic Caucus Chairman Martin Frost could not win, Republicans designed a district where Marchant could not lose. He denied that the new 24th was created specifically for him, but it incorporated nearly his entire state legislative district and was heavily Republican. He campaigned as “a proven leader for George W. Bush,” a reference to his close legislative relationship with the former governor. Marchant drew no serious major-party opposition. In the primary, he defeated three other candidates with 73% of the vote and in the general election won 64%-34%.
In the House, Marchant has a solidly conservative voting record, though he does not have the hard rhetorical edge of a Tom DeLay, the controversial former GOP majority leader from Texas. As the only one of the five House Republicans elected as the result of DeLay’s redistricting plan who had prior legislative experience, Marchant settled comfortably into Congress. He developed a fruitful relationship with Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio, joining the Education and the Workforce Committee that Boehner chaired in 2005 and becoming one of the few Texans to back Boehner in his bid to become majority leader when Republicans still controlled the House.
Marchant’s legislative priorities have been mostly parochial. As the only North Texas Republican on the Transportation Committee, he helped coordinate the eight-year phased repeal of the Wright Amendment. In January 2009, he unsuccessfully sought a seat on the House Ways and Means Committee, but he retained his seat on the Financial Services Committee. Since 2007, he has refused to request spending earmarks for his district. With the big amounts that Washington already is spending, “We felt we did not need to contribute to any more big spending,” he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in April 2009. Earmarks, which exploded in number and size during the Republican majority, became controversial in recent years as budget hawks in both parties began to focus on them as wasteful, pork-barrel spending.