Updated July 20 to correct HD67 candidate Matt Lagos’s occupation at his request.

GOV: Houston attorney Daniel O’Neil established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Gov. Greg Abbott, likely as a Democrat. Meanwhile, Dallas businessman Jeffrey Payne and San Antonio veteran Thomas Wakely formally established their campaign committees. Both had previously announced their candidacies.

Rep. Terry Wilson

Rep. Terry

HD20: In a post on its web site, Empower Texans called out Rep. Terry Wilson (R-Marble Falls) for being “the first lawmaker, Republican or Democrat, to explicitly refuse to accept petitions delivered by Empower Texans.” In February 2016, the group’s PAC gave Wilson a $46K donation toward his successful primary challenge of former Rep. Marcia Farney (R-Georgetown), making it his single largest contributor. Several of its largest donors, including board member Mayes Middleton (now a candidate for HD23), also gave significant donations to his campaign totaling at least $47K ($93K including the PAC’s donation). Combined, this group of donors supplied nearly half of Wilson’s total contributions for the election cycle.

The petition in question called on lawmakers to pass all of the items of Gov. Greg Abbott’s draft supplemental call for the special session that convened yesterday. In a Facebook post this afternoon, Wilson addressed the incident. “I do not simply take an organization’s word as fact that these constituents agreed to allow this organization to send this message on their behalf,” Wilson said. “As with voter fraud, to allow potentially inauthentic and unauthorized communications to be given equal weight as actual, verified, constituent communication only serves to dilute the voice of the district.”

He said he was disappointed the group “felt the need to disregard the respect my staff and I have for the security and verification of our constituent communications.” Wilson said he encourages constituents with concerns or comments on legislation to contact his office directly.

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