During re-election campaigns, incumbents love to flaunt the endorsements of their elected colleagues, but State Rep. Hugh Shine (R-Temple) may prefer to keep his latest endorsement under wraps.
On Thursday evening, departing Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) endorsed Shine’s re-election bid for House District 55, which covers roughly half of Bell County in Central Texas.
Shine first served in the Texas House 30 years ago and came out of retirement in 2015 to defeat conservative State Rep. Molly White. In an interview with the Temple Daily Telegram, Straus commented on Shine’s return to the Texas Legislature.
“He came back and hit the ground running and impressed everyone immediately,” said Straus. “He’s done a very incredible job representing his district and providing maturity.”
It’s not clear which moment in the previous session from Shine was most impressive to Straus.
Certainly it was not Shine’s multiple spectacular failures on the house floor, such as when his bill to, “prohibit a court from awarding attorney’s fees in a taxpayer suit” was kicked off of local calendars by a group of conservative representatives and eventually voted down with only Shine and 18 other members supporting the anti-taxpayer bill.
Early in the session Shine revealed he would be no friend to conservatives after he led a motion to fast-track a Democrat bill hiking the minimum wage.
Straus also praised Shine’s “leadership” on property tax relief.
“I think he’s well positioned to continue to lead on property tax relief,” said Straus.
This claim is laughably false, as Shine has been an opponent of property tax reform measures in the House.
Straus was forced to retire from the legislature in October after Republicans in counties across the state passed resolutions of no-confidence in the Speaker following his obstruction of conservative priorities, including property tax reform, state spending limits, and privacy legislation, during the special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott.
Last month, Republicans in the House passed a caucus rule change to require a speaker vote in caucus in order to prevent Democrats from choosing another antagonistic speaker like Straus.
Upon the release of the Straus endorsement, C.J. Grisham, one of Shine’s opponents in the primary, took to Twitter to thank Straus for his endorsement, declaring the news to be, “the best thing that could have happened to my campaign.”
Shine faces a tough re-election battle. Both Grisham, a grassroots activist who has received the endorsement of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, and Temple pastor and businessman Brandon Hall are facing off against Shine in the March election. With the endorsement of the unpopular Speaker Straus, Shine’s re-election may have just gotten even more difficult.