Michael Burgess has held his seat in Congress for 15 years, but he’s not taking any chances against an opponent with ties to President Donald Trump.
Burgess, a Republican who lives in the Denton County town of Pilot Point, has launched an attack ad against Veronica Birkenstock, whom he will face in the March 6 primary.
The ad, which can be found by searching Birkenstock’s name on Google, accuses Birkenstock of being a closet Democrat and operating businesses that take jobs away from Americans. The ad is titled: “Veronica Birkenstock: Learn the Truth.”
“... Birkenstock’s real business and actual political record prove she supports and lobbies Congress to give American jobs to foreigners over Americans … and that she has a past and current history supporting liberal Democrats opposed to border security and immigration reform,” it reads.
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District 26 includes much of Denton County as well as the Tarrant County communities of far north Fort Worth, Haslet, Justin, Keller, North Richland Hills and Watauga.
Burgess has rarely faced a stiff challenge to his seat since beating Scott Armey in 2002. (Armey’s father, Dick Armey, held the seat from 1985 to 2002.) Burgess said his campaign bought the ad to educate the thousands of new voters who have moved to his district since the last election and may not know the background of the candidates.
“You run every campaign as if it’s your first, or your last,” Burgess said Tuesday in a phone interview.
Birkenstock said that she registered as a Democrat while living in North Carolina because she lived in an area that had no Republican option, but that she never actually voted Democrat and strongly supports Trump and the GOP.
She said the H-2B program provides a valuable service to American businesses. Her company, Practical Employee Solutions, brings in temporary foreign workers to numerous clients, including the Trump International Beach Resort in Miami.
Shortly after the presidential election, Birkenstock briefly served on Trump’s Department of Labor transition team, although she stepped aside in response to questions about her business ties to Trump.
She said she isn’t surprised that Burgess is using attack ads, because Burgess knows that her challenge to his incumbency will be formidable.
“For someone who has been in Congress for nearly 16 years, you would think he would run on his record instead of attacking me,” she said.
The race for District 26 also features two candidates in the Democratic Primary, Linsey Fagan and Will Fisher.