Two Democrats are trying to get on the November ballot to represent District 27 in Washington, D.C.
One lives in Corpus Christi.
The other has a Victoria address, but also resides in California, where he’s also running for a U.S. House seat.
In March, voters in the Democratic primary will choose between Charlie Jackson, of Corpus Christi, and Ricardo De La Fuente, a businessman who is running to be the Democratic nominee for house seats in both Texas and California. In California, De La Fuente is a Democratic candidate for California’s 21st District, which includes parts of Fresno and Kern counties.
Although unusual, De La Fuente’s concurrent campaigns are not prohibited by the Constitution.
“As far as the Constitution is concerned, this is fine,” said Joseph Fishkin, a law professor at the University of Texas and an expert in constitutional and election law. “It doesn’t exactly say ‘I’m really going to serve my constituents’ to be running in two different places, but I don’t think anything is stopping you from running.”
The Constitution mandates that a member of U.S. Congress has to live in the state they represent at the time they take office, Fishkin said.
De La Fuente did not respond to the Advocate’s requests for an interview or for comment. The newspaper contacted him via the publicly listed email addresses on his candidate registration information in both states. The phone number listed on his California registration was not working, and he did not list a number on his Texas registration.
Trying to represent multiple districts in different states is not common. In 2014, Republican Allen Levene filed to run for Congress in four states, and De La Fuente’s relatives have also run for office in multiple states.
The winner of the Democratic primary will run against U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud, the Republican incumbent. Cloud, who lives in Victoria, has been in office since 2018 when voters chose him to replace Blake Farenthold, who resigned amid an ethics scandal.
“He’s on the ballot, but he’s never lived in Texas a day in his life,” De La Fuente’s primary opponent, Jackson, said. “Even when he filed, he said he’s lived here zero years and zero months.”
Jackson, 60, said he decided to run for the seat because he was frustrated with the federal government.
“I believe I can do as good a job or better job than the folks who are up there today,” Jackson said.
Jackson moved throughout Texas as a child, including time spent in Victoria before graduating high school in Baytown. He’s lived throughout the state and the world during his career and is the CEO of the consulting business Acceleros. He moved to Corpus Christi last year.
Although he is running as a Democrat in a district that has favored Republicans in recent elections, Jackson said he didn’t think his political party would define his ability to connect with voters.
“As a native Texan, I’ve seen those political winds swing back and forth throughout my life,” he said. “A lot of it is not about the labels, but it’s about what people are doing and how well you know them and whether you’re focusing on the issues that people have.”
One of Jackson’s priorities, he said, was economic development throughout District 27, which spans across all or some of 13 counties in Texas. Many parts of the district haven’t benefited from the massive population and economic growth that the rest of the state has seen in recent years.
The more rural areas of the district, Jackson said, need an advocate in the federal government to help them get investments like improved broadband internet access, which in turn would help small businesses to grow, he said. Jackson said his focus on economic development and small businesses would in turn help families by providing better jobs with higher wages.