A peculiar race between two Democrats ended as expected Tuesday when the party-supported candidate trounced an opponent who called for the impeachment of President Barack Obama.
David Alameel, who fell just shy of winning 50 percent of the vote in the March Democratic primary, swept the runoff race to be his party’s nominee to run against Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.
A Dallas investor who founded and sold a chain of dental clinics, Alameel continued to hold onto more than 70 percent of the vote as results rolled in for the May 27 election. With Alameel’s win, the Texas Democratic Party avoided the embarrassment of having a ticket with Rogers, who would have been banned from speaking at the state convention.
A victory for Rogers in the runoff, Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said, would have further emphasized that the Texas Democratic Party — which, in an unusual move, has been going to bat for Alameel through emails and social media posts — is a “fragile shell” of an institution.
Alameel, who’s still introducing himself to Texas voters, will now aim to unseat a senator who’s got a 17-percentage-point lead over him, according to Public Policy Polling results released in April. To sway voters, Alameel is banking on his life story, which includes coming to the U.S. from Lebanon at the age of 20 and working as a farm laborer before studying dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
“I’m a self-made man. I have compassion for people,” Alameel said by phone Tuesday night. “John Cornyn is passionate about corporations.”
Alameel has already spent $4.8 million — more than 99 percent from his own pockets — to beat out other candidates.
Brandon Rottinghaus, a University of Houston political scientist, said Alameel’s self-funded campaign indicates Democratic donors believe their money will be better spent on more competitive races.
But Alameel said Tuesday night he’ll have more time to raise funds over the next five months since his campaign has now been established. He said he doesn’t expect to be the sole large donor in his race against Cornyn.
So far, Cornyn, who’s holding onto a barely favorable approval rating of 31 percent, has raised $14.1 million.
Alameel has previously written checks to both Democrats and Republicans, including contributions of about $8,000 to Cornyn’s campaign in 2004. Earlier this year, Alameel said in an interview that he’d like a refund from Cornyn, a request the Senate minority whip gleefully denied in a letter that praised Texas conservatives’ “successful pro-growth agenda.”