New faces, same old regime

With an exceptional number of Straus committee chairs retiring from the House, the recent Republican primary election saw a large amount of open seats in play. Conservatives were able to capture some of these open seats outright on election night. Other races are yet to be decided by a runoff election on May 27th. Many conservative candidates will face-off against remnants of the same old Straus regime, trying to retain power over formerly establishment-held seats.

An old adage in politics is “Follow the Money.” If you’re a member of the establishment, where you stand depends on who pays for where you sit. Looking through the contribution reports of a number of runoff candidates, it is easy to see which candidate will toe the line for the Straus regime.

The race for HD58, vacated by liberal-leaning Straus committee chair Rob Orr, has come down to conservative small business owner Philip Eby and Cleburne ISD Vice President DeWayne Burns. Burns’ website claims that he is “A New Generation of Conservative Leadership.” Ironically, despite his youthful rhetoric, Burns’ political contributions reveal that the liberal leaning, old guard, Austin establishment heavily favor him.

Burns was given $10,000 directly from the campaign war chest of the departing Representative Orr; though Burns’ donations from legislators didn’t end there. Notorious Straus lieutenant, Charlie Geren of Ft. Worth chipped-in $2,000 to the Burns campaign.

More worrisome should be Burns’ donations from a notoriously liberal education group. One of his single largest contributors, the deceptively-named Texas Parent PAC, gave Burns over $7,000.

There is little doubt that with a significant donation from  Parent PAC, Burns will promote this organization’s singular commitment to mediocrity in Texas public schools for the protection of ISD administrators. Parent PAC has consistently and vehemently opposed opportunities for impoverished Texas children to get a better education through school choice programs.

More notable Texas Parent PAC recipients in upcoming runoffs are candidates Linda Koop in House District 102 ($7,500) and Ann Hodge in House District 132 ($5,000).

Known Straus allies, Representatives Byron Cook (HD8) and Patricia Harless (HD126) also contributed to candidates in open seat runoffs.

Cook donated $1,000 to Glenn Callison, the establishment candidate running against conservative Collin County Commissioner, Matt Shaheen in HD66.

Harless and her husband managed to rack-up $8,000 in contributions to the campaign of Ann Hodge, the Katy Chamber of Commerce President running against former policy advisor to Gov. Perry, conservative Mike Schofield, in House District 132.

The purpose of this examination is to provide truth-in-advertising. All of these establishment candidates in runoff races claim to be conservative, yet it is certain that authentically conservative candidates would never garner donations from the Straus regime, not now or in the future.

Conservative voters are demanding conservative leadership. Authentic conservatives make an active pursuit of the principles of limited government, responsible fiscal stewardship, and an end to corporate welfare.

It inspires little confidence that so-called “conservative” candidates pay lip service to these ideas, yet are able to pick-up 4-figure donations from many individuals and organizations least associated with conservative values in the state House.

This May, we must all do our homework. Follow the money to find who the real conservatives are and aren’t. The runoffs might provide some new faces, but many represent the same old regime.

CORRECTION: First publication of this article mentioned donations from the Texas Classroom Teacher’s Association (TCTA). The article also reported that this group is a union with affiliation to the National Education Association (NEA). The actual group that is a union affiliated with NEA is the Texas State Teacher’s Association, not TCTA. The reference has been removed.

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