More than 50 House Democrats left the state today (Monday) for Washington, D.C., with the intent to break quorum to prevent passage of Republican-backed election legislation. Unlike their quorum break near the end of the regular session, this action may compel them to remain out of state for multiple months. Today is the 5th of a possible 30 days in the first of potentially multiple special sessions.
“Today, Texas House Democrats stand united in our decision to break quorum and refuse to let the Republican-led legislature force through dangerous legislation that would trample on Texans’ right to vote,” said House Democratic leaders in a statement. “We are now taking the fight to our nation’s Capitol.”
Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) said in a statement that he would use “every available resource” under the House rules and state constitution to continue the chamber’s work. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) tweeted the Senate would vote on Senate Bill 1 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) tomorrow (Tuesday).
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) condemned the quorum break. “Texas Democrats’ decision to break a quorum of the Texas Legislature and abandon the Texas State Capitol inflicts harm on the very Texans elected to serve them,” Abbott said in a statement. “As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state.”
Despite messages of support from other states’ Democratic caucuses and pledges of financial support, the Democrats’ endgame is unclear. Presumably, it is to secure passage of new federal laws to nationalize aspects of voter registration and election administration, but such legislation would likely apply only to federal elections. Absent that, there is little recourse available to them in Texas. Complicating matters is the fact that a second consecutive special session would extend beyond the date the U.S. Census Bureau is expected to provide redistricting data to the states and the date when legislative branch funding expires.
In 2003, Democrats attempted a similar strategy to fight a Republican-backed congressional redistricting plan. House Democrats spent several days near the end of the regular session in Ardmore, Okla., while Senate Democrats spent a 30-day special session in Albuquerque, N. Mex. The redistricting plan ultimately passed in a subsequent special session.
CD6 special: Rep. Jake Ellzey’s (R-Waxahachie) campaign announced he raised more than $1.2M since the end of the last reporting period, which was a couple of weeks before the May 1 special election. He raised a total of $504K prior to that reporting period.
AG: The campaign of Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) announced he raised $1.8M during the last 10 days of June. It is the most he has ever raised during the short fundraising period immediately following a regular legislative session. Yet, he was out-raised by Land Comm. George P. Bush (R), whose campaign announced he raised $2.3M during the same period. Former Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman (R) previously announced raising $1M.
LAND open: Sen. Dawn Buckingham’s (R-Lakeway) campaign announced she raised nearly $600K during the last 10 days of June, not including $1M in personal contributions. She will report having around $3M on hand.
©2021 Texas Election Source LLC