Chris Putnam, who is challenging 12-term U.S. Rep. Kay Granger in the Republican primary for the 12th Congressional District, launched a strong attack from the right against the GOP establishment at his campaign kickoff event Thursday evening.

“’Many in the GOP are bracing for Fort Worth to serve as the setting of the next nationalized battle between the party’s establishment and conservative factions,’” Putnam read from Texas Tribune to a packed room. “Hell yeah it is,” he added, to whoops from the audience.

Signaling he intends to take the conservative fight to his opponent, the former Colleyville City Councilman opened fire on Granger’s record.

“Our federal budget is quadruple what it was the day she started,” he said. “Our national debt is quintuple what it was the day she started.”

“[Granger] passed every single one of those bad budgets,” he added.

Putnam also went after Granger’s record on illegal immigration, from her refusal to use Trump’s language of building the wall to her lack of support for border patrol agents.

But the crowd roared when Putnam addressed the bridge-sized elephant in Fort Worth: Panther Island.

Panther Island is the 16-year, $1.1 billion real estate redevelopment scheme disguised as flood control. The project is funded by both local taxpayers and, thanks to Granger’s influence, federal tax dollars as well.

Kay Granger’s son J.D. Granger was installed as executive director of the agency tasked with coordinating the efforts of the project’s various government stakeholders. Panther Island is now behind schedule, and costs have exploded to the point that the Trump administration pulled federal funding in 2018.

Putnam said the project has already cost taxpayers nearly $400 million, including J.D. Granger’s six-figure salary for the past 13 years.

“What have we got to show for it?” Putnam asked. “We got a couple of broken bridges sitting on dry ground over in north downtown. Who spends $400 million and has basically their own personal swamp?”

“This is the symptom of people being in Washington too long.”

Putnam’s proposed solution is to do federally what he helped accomplish in Colleyville: term limits. “I support term limits in all levels of government,” he said as the room applauded him.

To conservatives hungry to make a change, Putnam issued a call to rally to his side in his fight for CD-12. “We’re here to go to Washington to fundamentally change it.”

Texas’ primary elections will be held March 3, 2020.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.


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