2013’s Biggest Disappointments

Still feeling underwhelmed from the lack of conservative policy outcomes during the regular session? Your incumbent legislator’s underachievement is likely the primary source.

We’ve compared the scores of all incumbents in the 83rd Legislature compared what they scored in the 82nd session for taxpayers to see just who let them down the most.


You’ll notice several of this session’s biggest drops in the House were members who received praise for their efforts just two years ago to protect taxpayers. Among them are State Reps. Bill Callegari (R – Houston), Jim Murphy (R – Houston) and Paul Workman (R – Austin) who earned the distinction of Taxpayer Advocates and Taxpayer Champion, respectively.

Taxpayers in Rep. Tan Parker’s district (R – Flower Mound) should take special note of his 25-point drop on the 2013 Index during his first session as a Straus committee chairman. He previously scored an A+ in 2011.

In the Senate, the biggest drop belongs to Sen. Troy Fraser (R – Horseshoe Bay). He dropped a whopping 31.1 points from last session. Sen. Joan Huffman (R – Southside Place), a former Taxpayer Champion, was the second biggest drop. She fell 29.9 points after scoring a 66.5 in 2013.

The drop in scores from other incumbents may have others asking how they could have dropped so much, given how low they were already. Look no further than State Reps. Jim Keffer (R – Brownwood) or Byron Cook (R – Corsicana), who scored D’s on the last Index and still dropped 31.8 and 21.4 points in the 83rd, respectively.

Only six Republicans actually improved their score from last session. Reps. Bill Zedler (R – Arlington) improved 0.8 points, Van Taylor (R – Plano) improved 5.4 points, and Rep. Lance Gooden (R – Forney) improved 21.2 points, though Mr. Gooden’s journal statements on several key votes this session may cause his constituents to raise their eyebrows. Sen. Bob Deuell (R – Greenville) bumped up his score 4.9 points to finally get above a 50. Sen. Glenn Hegar (R – Katy) bumped his score up 5.6 points to get above passing. Sen. Craig Estes (R – Wichita Falls) had the biggest improvement of anyone in the Legislature with a 31.2-point gain, up to a 77.2 this time around.

Here’s a list of all non-freshmen Republicans along with their scores and differential from last session:

 

HOUSE

Legislator20132011Differential
Zerwas, John25.377.0-51.7
Callegari, William39.089.9-50.9
Aycock, Jimmie Don36.279.9-43.7
Otto, John35.576.2-40.7
Orr, Rob49.189.6-40.5
Geren, Charlie37.076.5-39.5
Workman, Paul52.991.1-38.2
Smith, Wayne31.469.0-37.6
Sheffield, Ralph52.388.9-36.6
Darby, Drew35.772.0-36.3
Pitts, Jim29.764.9-35.2
Murphy, Jim50.685.5-34.9
Riddle, Debbie52.987.3-34.4
Davis, Sarah44.777.9-33.2
Price, Four41.674.1-32.5
Huberty, Dan49.481.8-32.4
Bonnen, Dennis60.091.9-31.9
Keffer, Jim35.367.1-31.8
Lewis, Tryon45.176.9-31.8
Miller, Doug46.978.6-31.7
Larson, Lyle39.069.2-30.2
Morrison, Geanie56.186.0-29.9
Davis, John29.756.9-27.2
Hunter, Todd51.077.9-26.9
Sheets, Kenneth68.495.0-26.6
Anderson, Charles58.985.4-26.5
Harper-Brown, Linda64.890.9-26.1
Patrick, Diane36.762.2-25.5
Craddick, Tom61.386.6-25.3
King, Susan46.471.5-25.1
Parker, Tan74.9100.0-25.1
Cook, Byron42.066.1-24.1
Harless, Patricia50.273.9-23.7
Crownover, Myra48.772.2-23.5
Kolkhorst, Lois63.386.8-23.5
Frullo, John62.685.8-23.2
Burkett, Cindy65.488.1-22.7
Branch, Dan58.279.8-21.6
Ritter, Allan37.058.1-21.1
Lavender, George62.682.3-19.7
Kuempel, John52.271.2-19.0
Phillips, Larry75.193.2-18.1
Perry, Charles83.4100.0-16.6
Creighton, Brandon84.3100.0-15.7
Elkins, Gary72.888.2-15.4
Flynn, Dan86.3100.0-13.7
Hilderbran, Harvey68.581.8-13.3
King, Phil87.0100.0-13.0
Gonzales, Larry50.561.9-11.4
Isaac, Jason88.9100.0-11.1
Kleinschmidt, Tim66.176.9-10.8
Bohac, Dwayne74.985.4-10.5
Button, Angie Chen75.484.4-9.0
White, James90.899.8-9.0
Fletcher, Allen81.089.9-8.9
Lozano, J.M.32.939.5-6.6
Hughes, Bryan92.598.8-6.3
Smithee, John66.570.0-3.5
Simpson, David94.896.7-1.9
Carter, Stefani90.091.2-1.2
Laubenberg, Jodie100.0100.00.0
Zedler, William100.099.20.8
Taylor, Van99.994.55.4
Gooden, Lance89.167.921.2

 

SENATE

Legislator20132011Differential
Fraser, Troy55.486.5-31.1
Huffman, Joan66.596.4-29.9
Carona, John60.089.6-29.6
Duncan, Robert48.872.4-23.6
Eltife, Kevin58.879.1-20.3
Schwertner, Charles63.081.7-18.7
Seliger, Kel52.369.8-17.5
Nelson, Jane70.487.6-17.2
Taylor, Larry72.688.9-16.3
Nichols, Robert58.772.4-13.7
Birdwell, Brian90.8100.0-9.2
Hancock, Kelly78.086.6-8.6
Patrick, Dan93.9100.0-6.1
Williams, Tommy59.865.3-5.5
Paxton, Ken100.0100.00.0
Deuell, Bob53.148.24.9
Hegar, Glenn72.867.25.6
Estes, Craig77.246.131.2

 

Note: For comparison, 2011 Scores in the House are used for Sens. Hancock, Paxton, Schwertner, and Taylor. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dustin Matocha is the Executive Director of Empower Texans / Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. Dustin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Management, a BA in Government, and a minor in Marketing. He’s a self-described Corvette enthusiast, baseball purist, tech geek and growing connoisseur of local craft beer.

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