One could say they took a right turn in November of 2017, right toward Washington D.C. Tara Crenshaw, wife of U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, shared the story of serendipity that led the couple to the Capitol in Washington when Dan won election to District 2 after Ted Poe chose not to seek re-election.
Tara was born into a military family and grew up around the world, eventually ending up as a dental hygienist in California. It was in a friend’s kitchen where she met Dan while he was serving as a Navy SEAL.
“He was very witty and had a dry sense of humor. It took me a while to say yes to a date,” she said, but the pair eventually married.
They moved to Massachusetts in 2016 where Dan attended Harvard.
“It’s been 10 months since Dan was sworn in. On Nov. 2, it will be one year since he was elected and Nov. 7 is the two-year anniversary of Poe’s announcement he wouldn’t run again,” she said.
Tara was the keynote speaker for the October luncheon of the Kingwood Area Republican Women held at Walden Country Club. Running and then serving as a congressman wasn’t the plan for the Crenshaws, she explained, tracing the pivotal moment to a routine meeting between Dan and a foreign policy analyst. The original meeting was set for Nov. 6; however, it ended up being pushed back to Nov. 8 and it was during that fateful conversation the analyst asked if Dan had considered running for office.
“Who’s your congressman?” the analyst asked.
Dan replied, “Ted Poe.”
“Well then, he just announced yesterday afternoon that he is not running again. Have you ever thought of running?” he asked.
Tara said if that conversation had taken place as originally scheduled, Dan might not be in Congress today. It was by chance that Poe’s announcement came right before that meeting.
“You know what they say, ‘How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans,’” Tara said.
The original Crenshaw plan, Tara said, was for Dan to stay with the SEALs for 20 years and then they would find a piece of land and live a quiet life.
But after the encouragement of the analyst, they discussed the idea and by the next Monday, Dan and Tara were committed to run.
Dan was in a crowded field of seasoned and well-connected candidates. He has no elected experience and few political connections.
Nine ran in the Republican primary, which Dan, a virtual unknown, won. He went on to win the seat with 52.8% of the vote.
“When you are campaigning, you are tired all the time. But I have to say during our campaign, we became very close with the other people in our race. We are still friends today. That speaks to Texas and Texans.
“But once you win, the real work begins,” Tara said. “Some asked Dan on election night if he felt the weight was lifted off his shoulders. But really, it was replaced with a much heavier stone on his back,” she said.
Tara shared Dan’s work on flooding, immigration and a youth summit he recently held.
“These 10 months have been an adventure. Walking through the Capitol takes my breath away every time. We are inspired to keep America going, to never give up. I have been asked, what will you do when this ends? My answer is that people go into this knowing elected office does end, but service to the country never does.”