• March 31, 2020

Batch touts ties to Odessa, Midland - Odessa American: Elections

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Batch touts ties to Odessa, Midland

Candidate field now at more than a dozen

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Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2019 5:45 am

Thirty-year-old Brandon Batch doesn’t mind if folks think he is an underdog in the crowded field of contenders for the District 11 congressional seat currently held by retiring U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway.

He embraces the story of David vs. Goliath and readily admits “I’m not Goliath.” He is one of about a dozen other Republican candidates racing toward a March 3 primary. None have filed yet because the filing period doesn’t even begin until Nov. 9.

Batch is hoping that his story will resonate with voters. Born in Odessa, he is one of five siblings who were left by their father and then later lost their mother to multiple sclerosis when Batch was in seventh grade.

The Batch siblings took care of each other. “We knew as long as we were together we would be fine,” he said. “We faced CPS questions of how are you feeling yourselves and who is looking after you, but we all knew the best thing was to stay together.”

Batch said they were always the first ones on the school bus and the last ones off and that as time wore on that it became clear that after-school activities like band and sports were difficult. That, he said, is where the community stepped in and he started staying with friends to attend band and football.

Eventually a Midland family became his legal guardian and helped solidify his strong conservative Christian beliefs. “They didn’t have to,” he said. “But they saw kids who wanted to do better but didn’t have the resources and they stepped in and helped us and I will always be indebted to them for that.”

Now, Batch says he has his chance to give back to a community that has given him so much.

With the support of his adopted family, he said he excelled in the classroom and on the football field. After graduating from Texas Tech with a degree in public relations, he became a conservative policy advisor for Republicans in Washington, D.C., following an internship.

“I left Tech in 2012 with about $500 in my pocket and my car filled with my possessions and took on two side jobs while I worked my internship.”

He said the unpaid internship put him on track for a full-time job that allowed him to experience Washington.

“It was a blessing and an incredible opportunity and put me in a position to learn the ins and outs of Washington and how it works and why it doesn’t work and why it should be working better than it is.”

He left Washington about a year ago to return to Texas to start a now successful family business with his brother, Brian.

He left Austin about a month ago to return to his West Texas roots in Midland and is now seeking the congressional seat. He said he has fielded questions about not living in District 11, which is not required, until a month ago. “I always tell them that I left Midland because I was afforded a lot of opportunities, but that Midland never left me.”

He said he, like outgoing Congressman Conaway, has strong ties to both Midland and Odessa.

“God kept his eye on all of us,” he said of what the Batch siblings faced together. “I was born in Odessa and then went to school in Midland.”

He said a video on his campaign site, brandonbatch.com, includes a video segment recorded by his late mother prior to her death and that the video has more than 140,000 views. “People are connecting with our message and my background,” he said.

He said his age, 30, and the fact that he is African American help him stand out in the crowded field.

He said he is conservative and believes in secure borders and the Second Amendment.

Speaking about Odessa’s Aug. 31 mass shooting he said more regulations could not have stopped it as the gunman, Seth Ator, obtained his gun illegally. Ator killed seven people and injured 25.

“This guy failed a background check and purchased illegally a gun that was manufactured illegally,” he said. “I don’t know what you can do to stop people who intend to do bad things … Background checks alone don’t solve problems and are not the direction we need to go.”

Batch also takes issue with God being removed from “our daily lives. … When you remove the values that being a Christian instills in you, it leaves a void and room for evil.”

He said he is a strong supporter of President Donald Trump and that much of what is going on in Washington right now comes down to politics. “Why we are where we are is because for so long we have elected politicians who say one thing to get elected and then do another. People who support the President know he said I will do ‘xyz’ and he has done ‘xyz.’… He supports the oil and gas industry and has decreased regulations and cut taxes.”

Batch says he intends to hit the campaign trail hard in the coming months before the March 3 primary. “I certainly support the president and conservative West Texas values and that is what is ultimately going to guide my path. … For me to come back to this community and show people what their investment meant means a lot to me.”

Other announced candidates include:

  • 37-year-old Midland City Councilman J. Ross Lacy.
  • 41-year-old San Angelo native August Pfluger II, an Air Force Academy graduate and former Air Force fighter pilot.
  • J.D. Faircloth, a CPA and former Midland mayor.
  • 65-year-old Odessan Jamie Owen Berryhill Jr., director of the Mission Messiah residency program for women and a 2004 congressional candidate.
  • Rodeo cowboy Wacy Alpha Cody of San Angelo.
  • Businessman and veteran Robert Tucker of Comanche, which is 80 miles east-southeast of Abilene.
  • 39-year-old Air Force veteran and trucking company owner Wesley Virdel of Brady.
  • Ned Luscombe of Midland, a registered nurse.
  • Oilfield service company supervisor Ross Schumann of San Angelo.
  • Cynthia Breyman of Andrews.
  • Dr. Richard Bartlett announced his candidacy, but dropped out less than a week later.

Also, Democrat Jon Mark Hogg, an attorney and former San Angelo city councilman and mayor pro-tem, and Brady independent Jeffery Cady, a nursing home maintenance manager, have said they’re running.

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