Published Online: March 18, 1998


Federal File

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Back on the trail

Texas high school teacher Victor Morales continued his quest for a seat in Congress by capturing 80.5 percent of the votes cast in the March 10 Democratic primary for the 5th congressional district.

Victor Morales

But the tireless government teacher from Poteet High School near Dallas wasn't jumping for joy, despite his convincing 2,869-to-695 win over William A. Foster III, who teaches mathematics at Aldine Night High School in Houston.

"I feel good," Mr. Morales said in an interview the day after his primary win.

"But," he added, "what I want is to win the congressional seat."

The 48-year-old father of three drew national attention in 1996 by campaigning across the state in his small, white pickup truck in a bid to unseat incumbent Sen. Phil Gramm, a Republican. ("Viva Victor," Oct. 9, 1996.)

Mr. Morales did not accept donations from special-interest groups during the campaign. And, although he lost the Senate race, he picked up an impressive 2.4 million votes after spending about $950,000 on the primary and general elections. Mr. Gramm received 3 million votes after spending $5.9 million.

Mr. Morales returned to teaching last year. But mixing classroom demands with the new campaign proved to be too much, so he left his teaching job shortly into the current school year.

"I love teaching," he said. "But I couldn't do the job I wanted to do."

By giving up his teaching job, Mr. Morales hopes that he will be able to drum up enough support in his 11-county district to beat the incumbent, Rep. Pete Sessions, a Republican first elected to Congress in 1996.

Said Mr. Morales, "I'll be able to drive into every county and spend all day long there meeting with people and presenting my platform for campaign-finance reform and education."

Mr. Foster, his primary opponent, said in a brief interview that he will support Mr. Morales in the general election.

Meanwhile, Pam Arruba, Mr. Sessions' spokeswoman, accused Mr. Morales of supporting "big government."

Mr. Sessions, she added, is more conservative and wants to cut government.


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