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Recently Posted News & Analysis

Trump Swipes at Roy, West Swipes at Patrick

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R) will make a long-shot bid to become the next Republican Conference chair, challenging the presumptive candidate, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). Roy had been considering entering the race to be a conservative alternative for members who believe Stefanik is not sufficiently conservative. The leadership vacancy occurred because U.S. House Republicans voted to remove U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) earlier this week, citing the distraction her insistence that the 2020 presidential election was not stolen was causing for the party’s messaging and 2022 prospects.

Former President Trump said he supported Stefanik “by far” over Roy. In a statement, Trump said he could not “imagine” members choosing Roy because “he has not done a great job and will probably be successfully primaried in his own district.” Roy did not vote to overturn Arizona’s lawful election results on January 6. Stefanik did.

Shortly thereafter, Club for Growth endorsed Roy over Stefanik. “It’s time for a real conservative with a record like Roy’s to serve in leadership,” said the group’s president in a statement. Roy has a lifetime 100% rating on the group’s scorecard. Stefanik’s lifetime rating is 35%. For what it’s worth, Cheney’s lifetime score was 65%.

LTGOV: Republican Party chair Allen West accused Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) of placing “poison pill amendments” on House Bill 1927, the “constitutional carry” bill, which is headed to a conference committee. In a video, West said “there’s absolutely no reason Dan Patrick and the Texas Senate Republicans should be the roadblock for constitutional carry.”

Patrick responded that the bill was on track “despite an avalanche of misinformation and just plain lies from outside agitators.”

Since becoming party chair last summer, West has sued Gov. Greg Abbott (R) over his extending the early voting period for the 2020 general election and protested his Covid-19 response policies (“worse than the disease”), called Speaker Dade Phelan (R) a “traitor,” and now attacked Patrick.

Ballot Fraud: A former candidate for mayor of Carrollton was indicted on 109 felony charges related to ballot fraud. Zul Mirza Mohamed was charged with 25 counts of unlawful possession of a ballot and 84 counts of fraudulent use of a mail ballot application. He was arrested in October after the Denton Co. Elections Office alerted law enforcement of potential fraud. Mohamed allegedly obtained the ballots with fictitious photo identification, and some mail ballots were sent to a post office box which was claimed to be a nursing home. Eleven applications were submitted for people who had already requested ballots. Mayor Kevin Falconer was re-elected with more than 80% of the vote.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

CD6 Runoff Set for July 27 and Other News for May 12

CD6 special: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered a July 27 runoff election to fill the remainder of the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright’s (R-Arlington) term. Early voting will begin July 19 and end July 23, which is the typical length for a runoff election. Susan Wright (R) faces Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie). Abbott had little flexibility in setting the date – statute requires it to be no earlier than the 70th day after the special election was canvassed, which was today (Wednesday), and no later than the 77th day.

CD30 “open”: The Jane Hope Hamilton campaign unveiled her exploratory committee, which included finance and “faith & community” components. The latter includes Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), former Rep. Lorraine Birabil (D-Dallas) and former Dallas ISD trustee Miguel Solis. The campaign also released a biographical video, “Fearless, Battle Tested.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHDtX_bjfKw

Hamilton’s campaign is operating on an assumption that U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) will not seek re-election. Hamilton would withdraw from the race and support her if she sought another term.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

U.S. House Republicans Poised to Cancel Cheney as Roy Objects to Likely Successor

On the eve of an expected vote to remove U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from her leadership post, U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) cautioned that U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the consensus candidate to replace her, is not conservative enough.

“We must avoid putting in charge Republicans who campaign as Republicans but then vote for and advance the Democrats’ agenda once sworn in,” Roy said in a memo to colleagues (PDF). Roy was one of seven Texas Republicans who voted to accept Arizona’s electoral votes for Joe Biden, and he initially defended Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump over the January 6 insurrection as a vote of conscience. []

Roy said his decision to recall Cheney is “about her general failure to lead the conference … on a path forward to restore election integrity,” and not because of her position on the 2020 election. “This is the kind of unified ‘election’ message that Liz unfortunately did not develop [and] that we should embrace now.”

Roy’s reasoning notwithstanding, Cheney is arguably being removed as the No. 3 Republican in the House for insisting that the 2020 presidential election was not stolen from President Trump.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

Huffines Announces Primary Challenge of Abbott

Former Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) announced he would challenge Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in the Republican primary.

Defining himself as an “actual Republican,” Huffines said he is “tired of being lied to” by elected Republicans. “Texans are running out of time to root out corruption and reclaim our great state,” he said. Huffines pledged to secure the border, “finish the wall,” eliminate property taxes and “expose voter fraud and finally enforce laws that protect your vote.”

https://twitter.com/DonHuffines/status/1391757604645490689

Huffines would be the most organized and well-funded primary challenger Abbott has faced in his 25 years as a statewide elected official.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

House Approves Amended Election Bill and Other News for May 7

The Texas House of Representatives gave final approval to its version of a divisive, comprehensive election reform bill about giving preliminary approval in the middle of the night. Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), as rewritten by Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) and amended 18 times, finally passed the House on a nearly party-line, 78-64 vote. No Democrats voted for it. Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) was the lone Republican to vote against it.

During consideration last night (Thursday into Friday), an initial amendment to strike the enacting clause, which would effectively gut the bill, failed on 65-80 vote. A point of order was lodged against the bill, leading to a two-hour delay, as Cain and Democrats worked out a series of amendments. After the point of order was withdrawn, Cain accepted most of the amendments, and more than 100 proposed amendments were not offered.

“This bill took a lot of work. We’ve heard ideas from many members and constituents,” Cain said. “This bill protects every single Texas voter.”

In general, the amendments reduced criminal penalties for inadvertent or unintentional violations, clarified provisions related to poll watchers’ access to and removal from a polling place or vote tallying location, provided for the ability of a voter to correct a defective mail ballot and clarified provisions related to assisting a voter.

Those amendments did not appease civil rights, disability and voting advocates – nor any of the Democrats – who continued to denounce the bill.

Senate Bill 7 “erects deliberate barriers to silence our most vulnerable citizens: voters with disabilities, the elderly and communities of color,” said Grace Chimene, president of the League of Women Voters of Texas, in a statement. “We had hoped for a more democratic process and an outcome that would benefit all voters.”

The bill goes back to the Senate, which has the option of accepting the House’s amendments or going to a conference committee to work out the differences between the chambers’ versions of the bill. The latter could lead to restoration of provisions that were in the Senate-passed version but left out of Cain’s committee substitute, which replaced the Senate-passed language with the language of the committee-passed House Bill 6.

AGRIC: District Judge Jan Soifer (D) dismissed Comm. Sid Miller’s (R) lawsuit against Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), the state Senate and others over the chamber’s Covid-19 rules. Soifer ruled that she lacked jurisdiction over the Senate. The lawsuit argued that the Senate policy requiring a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination violated the First Amendment. Miller filed suit as a private citizen and not in his official capacity as an elected official. He is expected to appeal the decision.

Meanwhile, one of Miller’s political consultants was arrested on felony theft charges arising from a Texas Rangers investigation. Todd Smith is alleged to have solicited money in exchange for hemp licenses issued by Miller’s agency. Miller is not implicated in the case.

Fort Worth: Council member and third-place mayoral candidate Brian Byrd endorsed Mattie Parker in the runoff.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

House Begins Consideration of Senate Bill 7 and Other News for May 6

The Texas House of Representatives began consideration of Rep. Briscoe Cain’s (R-Deer Park) committee substitute to Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), the session’s most comprehensive election bill, around 6 p.m., and discussion of the bill and amendments – at least 134 of which had been filed – continued past our publication deadline.

An initial amendment to strike the enacting clause, which would effectively gut the bill, failed on 65-80 vote, a largely inevitable outcome. Reps. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) and Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) voted with nearly all the Democrats in favor of the amendment. Reps. Bobby Guerra (D-Mission), Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) and Richard Raymond (D-Laredo) voted against it.

A point of order lodged against the bill analysis was pending, more than two hours after it was called, as of press time. Cain moved to postpone the bill until 11:30 p.m. CT so members could continue to move through the calendar.

CD8 open: The Woodlands attorney Jonathan Hullihan established a campaign committee for a potential run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands), becoming at least the fourth Republican to do so. He joins Conroe resident Rudy Atencio, Conroe resident Ryan Jarchow and New Caney utility inspector Jonathan Mitchell. Sugar Land real estate agent Laura Jones, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for the seat last year, is also in the race.

CD13: Wichita Falls attorney Kathleen Brown established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Amarillo) as a Democrat. Jackson received 80% of the vote in the 2020 general election.

Fort Worth: Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) endorsed Deborah Peoples in the mayoral runoff. Former D9 council member Joel Burns endorsed Elizabeth Beck in the runoff for D9. D7 third-place finisher Lee Henderson endorsed Leonard Firestone over Zeb Pent in the runoff.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

Abbott’s Job Approval Rating Falls and Other News for May 4

Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) job approval rating (43/45) is underwater for the first time as the state’s chief executive, according to the latest Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune poll (PDF). Forty-three percent of respondents approve his job performance, his lowest such figure since October 2016.

The new poll is the fifth straight for which the percent of respondents approving Abbotts’ performance has dropped, declining 13 points from his all-time high of 56/32 in April 2020 – the poll taken right at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 45% share of respondents disapproving of his performance is the highest found by the UT/TT poll since Abbott became governor.

Around a fifth of respondents “strongly” approved of Abbott’s job performance, and around a third “strongly” disapproved. Considerably more Democrats (65%) “strongly” disapproved Abbott’s job performance than Republicans (37%) “strongly” approved it. However, nearly half of all self-identified “extremely conservative” respondents “strongly” approved, and Abbott’s rating among that group was 79/12, nearly identical to the 79/14 rating of “somewhat conservative” group. Of the latter, a third “strongly” approved.

In fact, Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) and Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) all received high marks from the “extremely” and “somewhat” conservative respondents.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2021 Texas Election Source LLC

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Jeff Blaylock

Jeff Blaylock

Publisher

Jeff is a political junkie, longtime public policy wonk and former Texas Legislature staffer who has worked political campaigns in Texas and several other states, ranging from school boards to legislators to governors to referenda. He is a public and government affairs consultant based in Austin, Texas, who offers his keen insights about Lone Star State politics as Texas Election Source.

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