Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D)
Elected: 1994, 8th term.
Born: Oct. 6, 1946, Austin .
Education: U. of TX, B.B.A. 1967, J.D. 1970.
Family: Married (Libby); 2 children.
Elected office: TX Senate, 1972–84; TX Supreme Ct. justice, 1989-94.
Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1970–89; Adjunct prof., U. of TX Law Schl., 1989–94.
The congressman from the 25th District is Lloyd Doggett, first elected in 1994 in the old 10th District. He is a liberal Democrat with a career that includes some notable twists. Doggett grew up in Austin, finished first in his class at the University of Texas and was student-body president in 1967. In 1972, at age 26, he was elected to the state Senate. In the 70s, as part of a large liberal bloc, he pushed for laws against job discrimination and cop-killer bullets and for generic drugs. He has long been a close ally of trial lawyers, the one strong institutional force supporting liberal Democrats in Texas. In the Legislature, he was one of the “Killer Bees” who hid out to prevent a quorum on changing the rules in the Democratic primary and filibustered—wearing sneakers—against what he called anti-consumer bills. In 1984, he ran for the U.S. Senate, narrowly edging out two House members to win the Democratic nomination. Then, despite the campaign help of crack Democratic consultant James Carville, Doggett lost the general election 59%-41% to party-switching U.S. Rep. Phil Gramm, a Democrat turned Republican. Doggett came back and was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1988. When Democratic U.S. Rep. Jake Pickle retired after 31 years, Doggett ran for his seat. He won the Democratic primary with token opposition and in the general election won by a solid 56%-40%.
|Lloyd Doggett (D)||191,755||(66%)||($401,449)|
|George Morovich (R)||88,693||(30%)||($64,134)|
|Jim Stutsman (Lib)||10,848||(4%)|
|Lloyd Doggett (D)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (67%), 2004 (68%), 2002 (84%), 2000 (85%), 1998 (85%), 1996 (56%), 1994 (56%)
In the House, Doggett’s voting record puts him among the most-liberal Texans and near the center of all Democrats. In the days of the Republican majority, he was a frequent critic of House Speaker Newt Gingrich and a close ally of minority whips David Bonior of Michigan and Nancy Pelosi of California. (He backed Pelosi against fellow Texan Martin Frost in her race for minority leader.) In 1999, he gained a seat on the House Ways and Means Committee. Along with other Democrats, he voted against most of Bush’s major tax bills and other initiatives. In 2002, he was a leader in opposing the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq. (Even he reported being surprised that 126 House Democrats voted against it.)
When Democrats took control of the House in 2007, Doggett set his priorities as eliminating tax shelters and loopholes and negotiating prescription-drug prices for Medicare. He also sought tax incentives for purchasers of plug-in hybrid electric cars. Often without the publicity of his earlier days in the minority, he had real impact on a number of issues. In May 2009, when President Obama announced his plan to reform international tax policy, he cited Doggett’s input on proposals to crack down on overseas tax evasion.
Reflecting his district’s environmental activism, Doggett was among the Ways and Means Democrats who asserted the panel’s role in global-warming legislation, then dominated by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “In my view, the more the merrier,” he said in 2008. He won House passage in September 2008 of a bill to create a “silver alert” modeled on the Texas program to track wandering senior citizens who may have Alzheimer’s disease. He helped increase funds for UT in the Democratic economic-stimulus bill of 2009 and won a new tax credit for higher education.
Republicans were giddy in 2003 at the prospect that redistricting might end Doggett’s congressional career. But he took up the challenge. As some other dislocated Texas Democrats took their fight to the courts, Doggett took his case to the voters of his new district. He started by working hard to get the support of elected officials and party activists along the border. “I chose to spend not a few hours here in the Valley in the month of December (2003), but a few weeks, to resume old friendships,” he said in McAllen. Meanwhile, the best-known Hispanic challengers for a Democratic primary dropped out for various reasons. Doggett faced Leticia Hinojosa, a former district-court judge from McAllen. She called herself a “pragmatist” in contrast to the outspoken Doggett, and she claimed a closer identification with voters. “I’m Leticia Hinojosa, and I grew up poor in the Valley,” she said in her radio ad. But Doggett’s strong local base and relentless pursuit of new voters prevailed. He campaigned less against Hinojosa than against the redistricters. If he lost, Doggett told voters, “Tom DeLay will have won,” a reference to the powerful GOP majority leaders from Texas who had orchestrated the remap. Doggett won the primary 64%-36%. He led 88%-12% in Travis County and held Hinojosa to a standoff in Hidalgo County.
Although the primary effectively sealed his re-election, Doggett faced a spirited challenge in the 2004 general from Becky Armendariz Klein. She called herself a conservative “new voice with new ideas” and cited her experience as policy director for Gov. Bush and as chairwoman of the Texas Public Utility Commission. Klein raised more than $800,000 and criticized Doggett for failing to work across party lines. Doggett tweaked her for her bid for ethnic voters, saying she’d pulled out her “long forgotten maiden name” to run for the seat. He won 68%-31%, getting 79% in Travis County and 60% in Hidalgo County.