WASHINGTON — A rising star in Republican politics, U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, is going to bat for a Houston House colleague.
Gowdy will headline a lunch fundraiser for Republican U.S. Rep. John Culberson at a West Houston steakhouse on Jan. 20, according to an invitation obtained by The Texas Tribune.
Houston political insiders are watching Culberson's primary campaign with interest. A politically connected attorney, James Lloyd, is challenging him on March 1 to represent the wealthy district that encompasses much of western Houston. Maria Espinoza, the National Director of The Remembrance Project, is also running for the nomination and picked up an endorsement Friday from former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado.
Gowdy is a much-admired congressman in conservative circles and is the chairman of the Benghazi Select Committee. Many presidential contenders sought Gowdy's endorsement, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. But Gowdy opted to back U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida last month.
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Culberson was one of the first Texans to endorse Cruz's presidential campaign in 2015.
Attendees are being asked to donate up to $5,400 — the federal limit — to Culberson's re-election campaign. The event will take place on the same day U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan will be in town raising money for Republican colleagues in vulnerable districts across the country.
Culberson has not been a juggernaut fundraiser this year when compared with many of his colleagues in the Texas delegation. He raised about $56,000 in the third quarter and had about $157,000 in cash on hand.
But he is a longtime member of the House Appropriations Committee, a prime assignment for any member of Congress aiming to raise re-election money.
Houstonians first elected Culberson to Congress in 2000. He ran unopposed in the 2014 primary for this solidly Republican seat.