WED brief 5.25.22
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[Note: We’ll examine Bobby Francis O’Rourke’s act of political grandstanding and other Uvalde-related fallout tomorrow. TL;DR version is that there won’t be much.]
RUNOFF ELECTIONS happened yesterday. Several long-term trends continued [rightward shift]. It was mostly a good night for conservatives, but many missed opportunities remain.
GREG ABBOTT needed to have a great night to maintain his current political positioning. He didn’t. [Net loss.]
Between 2018 (1-2) and the 2020 (3-2) cycles, Abbott’s long-term historical performance average in Texas House races is 50%. That rate essentially continued. Teams that go .500 rarely make the playoffs.
Abbott’s objective during this cycle was to move the Texas House far enough to the left that it kept conservative legislation off his desk (e.g., How Joe Straus killed the bathroom bill). Abbott failed there.
Greg Abbott is the right-wing equivalent to (former New York City mayor) Bill DeBlasio. He’s hard to take out politically, but nobody likes him (except lobbyists and campaign donors), and thus, his influence is limited.
As soon as he takes the oath of office for his third term, Abbott’s a lame duck.
NO MAS ARBUSTOS!!! George P. Bush got annihilated, as expected. To see it materialize, however, is highly gratifying.
The Bushes have been a bane of this country for almost a century.
The TEXAS HOUSE, contrary to the wishes of Greg Abbott and Dade Phelan, keeps getting more conservative. Arguably, it’s not happening at the pace that it could (or should), but it’s happening.
Between Dan Patrick’s consolidation of power in the Senate during round one and gains in the House in round two, conservatives will have several leverage points in 2023.
The biggest questions are a) Will Dan Patrick use the leverage he holds and, if so, to what end? b) Will competent leadership emerge on the House side?
Regarding question “b,” we have a hunch. See next item.
ELLEN TROXCLAIR was arguably the biggest winner last night. It’s not just that she won and did so with an impressive margin; it’s what she overcame.
Troxclair will take office in 2023 after being the recipient of a disgraceful smear campaign and being carved out of a Senate seat. She kicked Greg Abbott’s ass and doesn't owe anybody at the Capitol anything.
She’s a liberated woman.
Furthermore, it’s not just that she’s free of the establishment (although she is); she’s also free of the conservative groupthink.
Troxclair is a political unicorn. She’s conservative but in a way that’s “not scary.” She needs to work her first session carefully and should value independence over factional alignment, but the long-term path exists.
CARRIE ISAAC follows closely behind Troxclair as the major winner. She experienced a similar dynamic to Troxclair, just not to the same degree. Another high-ceiling freshman who can, if she chooses, cut a unique profile.
NATE SCHATZLINE is an improvement over Matt Krause, who went soft in recent sessions. Speaking of Krause, he lost his bid for Tarrant County DA.
These three candidates (Troxlcair, Isaac, and Schatzline) represent open seat victories that have (in the past) been predominated won by the establishment. That conservative performed better than incumbent races is an interesting reversal from previous cycles.
STEPHANIE KLICK won [yuck]. The consolation is that it took over $1 million to get her across the finish line barely.
Failing to drive up Klick’s negatives was a missed opportunity. Sure, some articles discussed Klick’s role in killing the “no sex changes for minors bills.” But that issue was only weaponized to a fraction of its potential.
Nevertheless, Klick is in the position where Jim Keffer and Byron Cook once found themselves. She’s barely survived a bruising fight and was made miserable in the process. Keffer and Cook both retired rather than face the voters again.
REP. HENRY CUELLAR “beat” his progressive Democrat challenger Jessica Cisneros. This is a close enough race, and it was high enough profile for
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