Former Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) announced the creation of Texas Forever Forward PAC to “promote a thoughtful, conservative approach to governing and rising political leaders ready to ensure a bright future for all Texans.” The PAC will support candidates that “embrace diversity and promote inclusive, non-discriminatory policies and laws” and promote “greater participation in our democracy,” according to the press release.

Speaker Joe Straus

Former Speaker Joe Straus

Straus will chair the PAC, and former Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson (R) will be its treasurer. Assuming its paperwork is filed with the Texas Ethics Commission this week, it would likely announce its initial contributions and expenditures in a July semiannual report. Texans for Joe Straus, the former Speaker’s campaign PAC, is contributing $2.5M. Straus’s campaign PAC had nearly $8M on hand as of December 31, sufficient to continue funding the new PAC and any potential statewide primary race for Straus in 2022.

The new PAC seems poised to join Associated Republicans of Texas on the ideological spectrum opposed to Empower Texans PAC, which opposed Straus’s speakership and spent more than $10M in the last three primary election cycles, much of it to support challengers running against incumbent Republicans and candidates for open Republican seats.

“Nothing good for Texas will come from this,” tweeted Michael Quinn Sullivan, Empower Texans’ CEO. Brandon Waltens, the Capitol Bureau chief for Empower Texans’ publication Texas Scorecard, wrote in a blog post, “Straus spent almost a decade obstructing and subverting the will of Republican primary voters and the party platform.”

SD22: Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) announced he would seek re-election.

HD67: Dallas real estate agent Lorenzo Sanchez established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Allen) as a Democrat. 83847

HD100: Former Rep. Samuel Hudson III (D-Dallas) appears to have re-established his campaign committee for a potential run for the seat vacated by former Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas). Hudson served 12 terms before losing his 1996 re-election bid in the Democratic primary, missing a runoff. His campaign committee has been inactive since. 20439

Supreme Court Rulings: The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down decisions on two partisan gerrymandering cases and the citizenship question for the 2020 Census tomorrow (Thursday), which Chief Justice John Roberts announced would be the final day of this term.

©2019 Texas Election Source LLC