U.S. Senate candidate Paul Sadler shook hands, and shared stories with the crowd that packed Henderson County Democratic headquarters Wednesday afternoon.
Sadler is optimistic that he can take the seat vacated by the retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison in November, and is hitting all areas of the state over the next few weeks to present his case.
He came to Athens after a noon stop in Terrell, and had a scheduled appearance in Jacksonville Wednesday night.
“The groups vary at 25 to 200 at a time,” Sadler said. “I’ve lived in every region of the state. When I’m in Freer, they say, ‘You’re one of us.”’ In Pampa, they say ‘You’re one of us.’”
But it’s in East Texas Sadler is best known. He represented the Henderson area in the Texas House of Representatives from 1991 to 2003. In 2004, he lost a bid for the Texas State Senate to Republican Ken Eltife, 52 percent to 48 percent.
Sadler, former chair of the House’s Committee on Public Education, beat retired teacher, Grady Yarbrough, in a Democratic runoff on July 31. Republican Ted Cruz upset Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on the GOP side.
Sadler said the people he’s been meeting in his campaign stops are concerned about education, Social Security and Medicare. They can’t afford to elect Cruz, who would try of eliminate the Departments of Education, Commerce and Energy.
“His views are extreme and radical,” Sadler said.
Seniors are concerned about threats to Social Security and Medicare, Sadler said. The candidate assured that he will not abandon the generation that the nation owes so much.
“Most Texans aren’t for that,” Sadler said.
Sadler is pressing his campaign the best he can, trying to talk to enough small crowds to swell his support. He believes his ideas are starting to resonate with more Texans.
“I’ve got a lot of ground to cover. I wish we had more money,” Sadler said. “I’d like to be on television.”
Sadler thinks Cruz views separate him from most Texans.
“We are not the Tea Party,” Sadler said. “We can’t stick our head in the sand, and hope the problems go away. We deserve better than that.”