Momentum has been growing for a long time for the two remaining candidates after the Texas House District 108 seat, soon to be vacated by Rep. Dan Branch. For Leigh Bailey and Morgan Meyer, only a few days stand between them and election results. But it’s been a long road.
Republican Morgan Meyer defeated two other party hopefuls in the March and May primaries, first with small business owner Court Alley and then with investment businessman Chart Westcott, both of whom grew up in the Park Cities.
Meyer, a Lubbock native, attended SMU for his undergraduate degree and then Washington and Lee University for law school.
Now, as a lawyer at Bracewell & Guiliani — where former U.S. Senator and Meyer supporter Kay Bailey Hutchison also works — Meyer is hoping to build on his party base in order to secure victory.
“We certainly have a good, strong, Republican district, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t get out and vote,” Meyer said to supporters.
Since becoming the sole Republican candidate, Meyer launched a slew of fundraiser events, such as the Sept. 23 gathering held at Harlan Crow’s Preston Road library. Fellow Republican politicos Ron Natinsky, Don Huffines, and Dan Branch were all in attendance.
“We absolutely have to turn out for our base,” Branch said. “We’ve got to do well in Dallas County, and it really starts with these core precincts. The stage is set, and we just need to close the deal.”
But the Republican base knows that Battleground Texas, a statewide effort to “turn the state blue,” has also been building in Dallas.
As evidence of that momentum, Leigh Bailey proved herself the standout candidate for the Democratic Party in a predominately Republican district.
“People in the Park Cities know me — they know who I am,” Bailey said. “A lot of people tell me that I’m the first Democrat they’re going to vote for.”
Bailey grew up in Dallas and attended The Hockaday School and SMU for her undergraduate and law degrees. She also met her husband at SMU, and the couple now has two children. Her youngest was born while on the campaign trail.
“Thank goodness it was my second [child] because with my first one, I was reading everything on the Internet,” Bailey said. “This time, I’m like, ‘he’ll be fine.’”
Other than being a busy mother, Bailey is also known in the community for her significant community efforts. She has volunteered with numerous charitable organizations, from Junior League to the Cattle Baron’s Ball.
“Pretty much any nonprofit — you name it, I’ve probably done something for it,” Bailey said.
But she hopes to take her leadership skills into the political sphere by focusing on women’s needs.
“I want to be the representative who stands up for women,” Bailey said. “I’m going to fight for fair pay and I’m going to fight for women’s access to basic healthcare.”
In terms of contributions, Meyer’s campaign raised $182,000 from July 1 to Sept. 25, while Bailey’s camp raised $97,000 during that same time frame.
But even with campaign-finance figures, the final results won’t be known until Nov. 4. For both candidates, though, the experience of running isn’t something that can be tallied.
“The best part of this whole experience is all the people that you meet,” Bailey said. “I’ve met such incredible people that I don’t know if I would have met them otherwise.”