Texas Turns Right

There are a number of states that we think of as conservative, and that are dominated politically by Republicans, but that are not, in policy terms, as much to the right as one might expect. For quite a while, Texas has been on that list. It has been effectively governed by a handful of political insiders who are not, for the most part, particularly conservative.

But that appears to be changing. This site has detailed results of yesterday’s runoff election:

We have the results of yesterdays runoff election, and it’s a mixed bag. Sitting Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan survived Dave Covey’s challenge by less than 400 votes. Evidently a ton of gambling special interest money an encouraging Democrats to vote Republican pulled him over the line. However, almost all Phelan’s political allies pulled into a runoff went down:

Results of a number of specific races follow. Governor Greg Abbott is on the side of the conservative rebels:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is cheering the results a vindication for school choice.

“While we did not win every race we fought in, the overall message from this year’s primaries is clear: Texans want school choice,” Abbott said. “Opponents can no loner ignore the will of the people.”

The governor’s electoral crusade for school choice came to a head this week, as eleven out of the 15 Republican challengers Abbott backed this cycle defeated House incumbents in their primaries. Abbott also worked to boot seven anti-voucher Republicans off the ballot in the state’s March Republican primaries.

This means that Speaker Dade Phelan, one of the two most powerful Texans along with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, is unlikely to be re-elected as Speaker. A friend from Texas writes:

Long and short: House Speaker Dade Phelan managed to squeak by (325 vote margin), thanks to tons of out-of-state $$$ that helped him get a couple thousand of Dems to crossover and vote in the runoff (no Dem candidate in the Fall). But while he survived, just about all of his RINO machine got massacred, and being associated with Phelan is now the kiss of death. (Paxton is already warning GOP House members that if they vote for Phelan as Speaker, “YOU’RE NEXT.”) It’s truly open season on RINOs in Texas right now.

So hopefully, the days of the Strauss/Bonnen/Phelan RINO machine are over, and we’ll start seeing some real action on things like school choice, higher ed reform, etc.

Maybe Texas will now join Florida as a state that doesn’t just vote red, but also gets solid conservative policies.

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