April 3, 2020

Congress Candidate Seeks Vengeance for Coronavirus
in New Spot that Puts China in Same League with Mafia

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

A Republican congressional contender in Texas is advocating calling for a dramatic escalation in the trade war with China as an act of revenge for the coronavirus conception that she portrays as an intentional attempt to murder Americans.

U.S. House hopeful Kathaleen Wall of Sugar Land joined a chorus of conservatives who are pointing angry fingers of blame at the Asian nation in a television advertisement that calls for revenge with a promise to "cut off aid, trade and support" to China if she wins an open race for the Congressional District 22 seat this fall.

Wall, who's dueling Troy Nehls in a primary runoff battle, conjures visions of organized crime at the ultimate level in the new 30-second spot that brands China as "a criminal enterprise masquerading as a sovereign nation" that must be punished with the most severe sanctions possible.

Wall showers praise on President Donald Trump for his unofficial renaming of the disease that has the world in a stranglehold as the Chinese virus. "President Trump has the courage to call it what it is," a male narrator contends in the commercial that Wall unveiled this week. "Kathaleen Wall has his back."

Nehls and his supporters are going to view Wall's rhetorical blistering of China and simultaneous show of love for Trump as a desperation Hail Mary as a candidate who's trying to come from far behind in overtime in a district where she finished as a distant runner-up in the Super Tuesday primary election a month ago.

The hard-line position that Wall takes in the new ad flies in the face of the views of economists who've agreed that tariffs that Trump imposed on exports to China have hurt manufacturing and agriculture in the U.S. Additional sanctions like Wall has proposed could have the potential to send unemployment in America soaring even more than it is now if those economic experts are correct about the need for a reopening of free trade with China.

Nehls led an original field that featured 15 Republicans with 40 percent of the initial vote in a district where Wall advanced to the runoff with 19 percent. Pierce Bush - the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush - was eliminated in round one with only 15 percent of the vote.

Wall ran for Congress in a separate district in the Houston area in 2018 when she failed to qualify for a GOP primary runoff in an open race that U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw won eventually. She's been bankrolling the current campaign with personal funds like she'd done in her debut as a candidate two years ago.

But Wall's pitch for retaliation against China as the apparent source of the coronavirus is a high-risk gamble with massive potential to backfire in CD 22 where there are more Asian-American voters than any other congressional district in Texas.

The new Wall ad could come back to haunt her in a potential general election clash with Democratic nominee Sri Preston Kulkarni, who came within 5 percentage points of knocking off Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Olson in CD 22 in 2018.

But Wall faces a more immediate challenge in a bid to erase a 21-point initial disparity in a fight with Nehls in OT in a district where he's the top law enforcement officer in a county that contains 62 percent of the CD 22 population.


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