A popular Cedar Park family physician, who calls herself "a no name upstart," is campaigning hard for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 31st District and has set her sights on defeating entrenched GOP Congressman John Rice Carter in next year's elections.
Dr. Christine Eady Mann, a working mother with three children and a longtime political activist, said she decided to seek to unseat Congressman Carter after making numerous attempts to bring groups of people to his office to talk to him about issues.
"You can't get into see him without an appointment, and yet his office won't give you an appointment," Mann said. "Mr. Carter will not hold town meetings, and he doesn't publicize his schedule so voters don't have a chance to engage with him on issues that matter to them. Unfortunately, his office is indifferent to hearing from voters that disagree with him. I could sit around and complain, or I could do something about it. So I decided to become a candidate."
Congressman Carter is serving his seventh term in Congress. A resident of Round Rock, he is a conservative Republican who won election in 2016 by more than 24,000 votes. Carter, 75, is a former four-term Williamson County judge. He is chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.
Carter and Mann are on the opposite sides of most issues.
Carter has praised President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate change agreement. Mann has called the action disturbing.
"Seeing the way this administration ignores the mass of science is very upsetting," Mann said.
She also feels strongly about health care, voting rights and the challenges faced by working women.
"I started my business when I was the mother of a 13-year-old, a two-year-old and a newborn," Mann said. "I know the challenges of working mothers."
Mann is maintaining her busy medical practice while campaigning for Congress. Currently she is making four or five campaign appearances a week with her efforts aimed at the March 6, 2018 Democratic primary for Congress. Currently, there is one other Democrat in the race, Mike Clark of Williamson County.
Democrat activists are struggling to decide which candidate to support.
"Christine and Mike are two outstanding, progressive candidates for Central Texas," said Brian Cronin, a Williamson County precinct chairman. "It wasn't too long ago that Republicans would run for office relatively unchallenged. Now, we are having contested primaries, which we think is a big plus since the primary process will strengthen the eventual nominee."
Mann intends to be that nominee. She has set a fundraising goal of $1 million and said she is receiving widespread indications of support. "I am a no name upstart and we are just getting started, but based on the response I am receiving, I am very optimistic."