By Christian Smith

It's an honor to receive former President Barack Obama's support for his Congressional bid, said Colin Allred, but really it's a recognition that the Texas Democrat has run a campaign that can win.

"We've built a grassroots movement of folks getting involved who haven't been involved before," Allred said in an interview Thursday with Cheddar. "It's kind of the legacy, I think, of President Obama's political brand, and I think that's what we're carrying forward here."

Allred is challenging Representative Pete Sessions, an eight-term incumbent, in Texas's 32nd congressional district north of Dallas. Sessions hasn't faced a Democratic opponent in a general election since 2014.

The Cook Political Report lists the race as a "toss-up" despite the 32nd district's R+5 PVI rating, which means it leans moderately Republican in presidential races, though voters there went for Hillary Clinton by one point in 2016.

That's a good sign for Allred, who is running to represent the area where he was born and raised. He was a stand-out football player at Hillcrest High School before going on to play linebacker at Baylor University and with the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

When his football career ended, Allred went to law school to become a civil rights attorney, and worked in the Obama Administration as a special assistant in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of General Counsel.

Allred said that some of his former Hillcrest High teachers and coaches have been involved in his Congressional campaign, and their involvement is as important as Obama's endorsement in getting new voters to the polls in November.

"We're reaching out to Independents and Republicans who might feel like this version of the Republican party led by Donald Trump doesn't represent them," Allred said.

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