Photo by Danny Fulgencio.

Pod Bless Texas: “We’re not sure we’re entertainers, but we’re in the know.”

Former political candidates (and election losers) Lillian Salerno and Kendall Scudder didn’t watch “the blue wave” ripple across the country with the rest of the Dallas County Democratic Party on election night.

They left the party at the Hyatt Regency and, instead, spent the night drinking and singing karaoke at the East Dallas bar, The Royal Pour. It was there that their podcast “Pod Bless Texas” was born.

The weekly podcast, which focuses on all things Texas politics, gives listeners a humorous and irreverent behind-the-scenes look at the state’s key figures. With nearly 20 years of combined political experience, Salerno and Scudder think they’re the best folks for the job.

“We’re not journalists. We’re not even sure we’re entertainers, but we’re in the know, and we want to share it with people,” Scudder says. “If you’re a regular Joe or Jane, then we’re folks you can relate to. Some elected people just don’t get it.”

The unlikely duo met in 2010 while campaigning for Bill White’s gubernatorial bid against Rick Perry. After losing the race, Salerno went on to work in Barack Obama’s administration, and Scudder launched his own campaigns in deep-red Texas districts.

Flash forward eight years, and they were both running for seats in overlapping East Dallas districts.

Salerno, who grew up on Swiss Avenue before it became a historic district, hoped to unseat former U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions to represent District 32, which encompasses Lakewood and East Dallas. She lost in a Democratic primary runoff to the eventual winner, Colin Allred.

Scudder, a Casa View neighbor, unsuccessfully challenged Bob Hall for Texas Senate District 2, which includes parts of Lakewood, Casa View and Old Lake Highlands.

“Running for office, you spend a lot of time with fellow party members, and we hit it off,” Scudder says. “Some of them are real stiffs you don’t want to spend time with. Others are delights, and I think we’re delights.”

Their rapport is hard to miss on the podcasts, which have featured state Rep. Julie Johnson and former state Rep. Harryette Ehrhardt. In between talking politics, the pair finds time for chats about spirit animals — Salerno’s is a dove of peace, and Scudder’s is Joe Biden — as well as plenty of playful banter.

The two hope the podcast will capitalize on the progressive energy that spread throughout Texas during the 2018 election season. As former candidates, they know how hard it is for neighbors to run for office, and they want to give candidates, especially those in rural areas, a platform.

“We have tire tracks on our backs, but we survived and know what they’re up against,” Salerno says. “We can help them learn from people who have done it. We’re all about the public good.”

Photo by Danny Fulgencio.

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