JEFFERSON — The four candidates from Congressional District 1 in the March 1 Republican Party primary recently got to know each other in Marion County, revealing what makes them the best contender for the seat, currently held by the incumbent. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler).
The candidates, Nathaniel Moran, Joe McDaniel, John Porro and Aditya “AD” Atholi, all made presentations at the meeting hosted by the Marion County Republican Party.
“We have other great guys running for this particular position, seem to be conservative in their values, but I think we need to send someone to Washington, D.C. who’s proven and tested, and I have , “said Moran, who is currently a county judge for Smith County.
“If you know anything about Smith County politics, you know you can’t just be anything but conservative in this area,” Moran said, urging voters to seek out his vita. “Look for me. I really want you to dig deep into the case because you’re going to find a proven curator.
McDaniel, a Tyler businessman and Baylor University graduate, said he was neither a lawyer nor a politician, but a proud East Texan, who is sick of not being able to trust the politicians.
“I’m a lot like every one of you in this room,” he told his constituents. “I created jobs. I started a business, 1991, out of the back of my car. It has become present in 13 states. I am a job creator; I am a problem solver. I’m an organization guy. I work with Fortune 100 companies all over the United States.
“What brought me here was that I was tired of the bait and switch,” McDaniel said.
Porro, who resides in Dallas and is director of advanced practice at Parkland Hospital, said he was in the running for the seat because he doesn’t like the direction the country is heading.
“Socialism is about to take over our country, and it’s up to us to make sure it doesn’t,” Porro said. “Every generation before us has succeeded in ensuring that we pass on a free country to the next generation. It is imperative that we do not lack this responsibility; and we are on the verge of doing so.
“We need people who are ready to stand up,” Porro said. “I am a hard working man who was raised as an adopted child in a Christian, conservative family in New York. I made it down here, but I have East Texas values. I just wasn’t born in East Texas.
Atholi, a 33-year-old Central native, said he was running because he had a simple plan to “reclaim the country”.
“What we’re seeing right now is absolutely disgusting,” Atholi said. “The road that these career politicians and the swamp have taken our society down. How can one not be absolutely frustrated?
“We hear all the problems. We know that COVID mask mandates, CRT (Critical Race Theory), open borders, a healthcare system that doesn’t work for the middle class, public schools that don’t work for poor communities, the national debt, a victim mentality, a nation that does not believe in God.
Atholi said the root cause of all these problems is the size of the federal government.
“We all know that, but what are we doing about it? You never hear solutions,” he said. “That’s why I’m running because I believe there is a specific, concrete, simple way to downsize the federal government and put control back to the state and counties, to families and communities like ours. country was supposed to be ruled.”
Sharing more of his biography and platform, Moran, a former Tyler City Councilman who has been a lawyer and county judge for five-and-a-half years, said he has been a lifelong, grassroots Conservative worker. Having served as precinct president and precinct, state and county delegate, Moran said he knows what it takes to get things done at the local level.
He said he was happy to have Texas Right to Life’s endorsement because pro-life is a position he stands firm on. Moran also noted his endorsement of District 1 State Senator Bryan Hughes.
“He was also supportive of me and I know many of you share those same values,” Moran said.
Noting his other tenets, Moran said he opposes the agenda of cultural Marxism. Securing borders is also a top priority for him, he said.
“When you can tackle Christian, evangelical and conservative issues, you won’t find anyone stronger than me and with a proven track record,” Moran said.
Next was McDaniel. Things got a bit heated as he spoke about his distrust of the government and confronted Moran for allegedly supporting Hughes’ Senate Bill 1, which he says reduces criminal penalties for fraud election from a second degree felony to a class A misdemeanor.
“The fact that (Gov. Greg) Abbot’s and Hughes’ SB1 reduced the criminal penalties for voter fraud from a second degree felony to a class A misdemeanor…. you should be mad as ‘Hades’ for signing such a bill,” McDaniel said while addressing the crowd.
Asking how many of them learned last week that the penalty for voter fraud had been changed from a felony to a misdemeanor, he turned his attention to his challenger, Moran.
“This guy, right there, you, advised and helped and said publicly that you helped Bryan Hughes draft this bill. Don’t you?” he asked Moran.
Moran responded, saying the claims were not true.
“That’s not true. I don’t know where you get that information,” Moran told McDaniel.
Attempting to keep the forum cordial, local party chairman Scott Stebbins warned McDaniel that his time was up.
“OK. That’s the problem with our country. We can’t trust politicians,” McDaniel said before taking his seat. was not. Thank you.”
Then, Porro noted that he is not beholden to anyone in the county and therefore will fight for everyone.
“I will fight for every one of you, for every one of you, from every county whether you are from Hemphill, Texarkana or Tyler because every person deserves equal representation,” he said. “Every county does. That’s what you should do.”
Porro said he is also a tax-tested conservative and will operate within the budget he has been given.
“I have to work within my budget because these are taxpayer dollars and they don’t grow on trees,” he said. “And if I don’t use them correctly, people aren’t supported.”
Porro said he is running for office not only because he loves this country, but because it is necessary.
“We need people who aren’t good-talking politicians, but who have common sense and the right values for Washington,” Porro said. “I’m here to tell you, like everyone else, we are conservative, yes. We believe in pro-life. We believe in pro first amendment, pro second amendment. We believe in border control, we believe in individual freedoms. This is your minimum job requirement. What we also need are people who are going to fight, people who are going to look you in the eye, and people who are going to be hard workers for you.
He said he hopes voters will be able to discern who will be the toughest, most conservative fighter and the person who brings East Texas values to Washington.
“I’m just an average guy. I have a heart for service and I am accountable only to God,” Porro said. “And obviously, I am an underdog. I wish I had a Texas accent, but that’s really the only thing that’s different, because I have East Texas values.
“I have core conservative Christian values, and I hope you all see my heart,” Porro continued. “I hope I won your vote.”
Last to speak, Atholi noted that he was a high school valedictorian, a graduate of Rice University and a former employee of Congressman Gohmert’s DC office.
“I loved working for him. I loved the staff I worked with. A lot of them are actually helping me now with this campaign, but I absolutely hated the culture of DC,” Atholi said. “I ended up going home. I kept doing the Marine Corps app, and I ended up messing around in the oilfield.
Atholi said he loved working in the oilfield and became the youngest driller in the area and was responsible for managing and drilling oil and natural gas wells at the age of 25 years. When the layoffs came, he joined the Marine Corps, serving as a Marine Gunnery Officer in North Carolina.
As a candidate in the Congressional District 1 race, Atholi said he had developed a specific, concrete and simple plan to return to local autonomy and conservative values.
“No one can fix a swamp. Not me. I don’t care how smart you think you are. I don’t care if you think you’re nice; you’re not going to fix a swamp. No politician you re-elect can fix a swamp,” he said. “But what we know for sure is that we can go back to a time when we ruled ourselves. For hundreds of years we have been a country of local autonomy, so if we have done it before, we can do it again.
Atholi said his plan has been endorsed by about 10 East Texas County judges, 10 East Texas County GOP chairs, as well as members of the US Congress and several US congressional staffers. .
“And our campaign promise is ridiculously simple: if one person can tell us why this isn’t the best plan you’ve ever heard to bring our country back to conservative values, we’ll stop the campaign and refund any unspent donations. “, said Atholi.
“So far nobody has been able to do that,” he said, noting that on Friday his campaign raised $92,000 in donations from “ordinary people.”
Atholi also noted what sets it apart from its competitors.
“Of the four candidates, I am the only oil and gas candidate; I am the only military candidate; and I am the only candidate approved by the American First PAC,” he said.