Welcome to Texas Citizen Journal’s “From the Campaign Trail”, ostensibly weekly election update. We bring you an overview of everything you need to know about the latest developments in Texas campaign news.
While it remains to be seen whether any of Governor Greg Abbott’s primary challengers have a shot at wresting the Republican nomination away from him, what is evident is that they are putting pressure on the incumbent to move towards the right. Whether it’s special sessions, election audits, or border theatrics, Abbott is not taking any chances when it comes to shoring up his right flank. However, not everyone is buying it. In fact, the national right-wing media, which has historically been pretty favorable to Abbott, may be turning against him, with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson even criticizing the governor over his handling of the border.
Speaking of Tucker Carlson, Abbott challenger Don Huffines recently made a six-figure tv ad buy in multiple media markets. The 30 second spot, which will air prominently during the Texas vs. Oklahoma football game, features news clips from Carlson and Steve Bannon blasting Abbott over the border crisis.
Meanwhile, Abbott’s other primary rival, Allen West, is in the hospital battling Covid-19. The former congressman announced on social media that both he and his wife had contracted the virus. Mrs. West was vaccinated and has experienced more mild symptoms, Lt. Col. West was not vaccinated and has developed pneumonia. West’s conclusion: “I can attest that, after this experience, I am even more dedicated to fighting against vaccine mandates. Instead of enriching the pockets of Big Pharma and corrupt bureaucrats and politicians, we should be advocating the monoclonal antibody infusion therapy.”
Texas Citizen Journal wishes Lt. Col. West a speedy recovery and asks readers to join in praying for him as he battles Covid-19.
On the Democrat side, a credible general election challenger to Abbott has yet to emerge. The speculation is that former congressman Robert “Beto” Francis O’Rourke will run. However, his hard turn to the left during his ill-fated presidential campaign will hurt him in Texas, which despite perennial Democrat hopes of a blue wave, is still a red state. As for Matthew McConaughey, nobody seems to know what he is up to. He recently made comments related to the Texas Heartbeat Law that managed to leave both sides of the abortion debate unsatisfied.
Meanwhile, for the most powerful office in Texas, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has picked up two primary challengers: conservative activist Trayce Bradford and Texas Nationalist Movement leader Daniel Miller. The chances of either of these people knocking out the powerful incumbent we leave to the readers to decide.
Patrick’s tougher race will probably be in the general election. Perennial Democratic electoral gadfly Mike Collier has been running for Lt. Gov. for some time now. However, he now has company in the Democratic primary after former George W. Bush advisor Matthew Dowd announced he is running against Patrick as a Democrat, calling the GOP incumbent “cruel and craven”. Dowd has some Democrat roots going back to when Texas was a blue state: he once worked for Bob Bullock, the last Democrat Lt. Gov. However, whether or not Democrats will be willing to welcome a Bush advisor into their ranks with open arms will be interesting to see.
Paxton continues to be the statewide incumbent in the most trouble. He is facing multiple credible challengers in the GOP primary: Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. However, he now has a third credible challenger: State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth). Krause is a member of the Texas House Freedom Caucus and has one of the most conservative voting records in the lower chamber. He is campaigning as someone who would be every bit as conservative as Paxton- just without the personal baggage. He could hurt Paxton by siphoning off some of his support among the most conservative grassroots activists.
When State Rep. James White (R-Hillister) announced he would be mounting a primary challenge to incumbent Sid Miller a few months ago, it was speculated that redistricting could have played a role in his decision. Now that the proposes redistricting maps are out, that suspicion may be confirmed. White’s East Texas HD-19 is no more, having been subsumed by neighboring districts. Due to rural areas declining in population compared to the rest of the state, East Texas lost two state house seats: White’s HD-19, and State Rep. Chis Paddie’s (R-Marshall) HD-09. Paddie announced he will not run for re-election.
State Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) is the clear front runner to replace George P. Bush as land commissioner at this point. She continues to roll out big name endorsements such as Lt. Gov. Patrick and former Gov. Rick Perry.
Congressional District 8:
With the retirement of longtime Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) leaving CD-08 wide open, candidates are pouring in out of the woodwork to serve the good people of Texas’ 8th District as their representative in D.C. There was a recent forum held in The Woodlands by conservative activist Billy Graff and moderated by The Woodlands Township Director Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, at which it seemed there were almost as many people on the stage as in the audience. The candidates in attendance were: Taylor Whichard, Jonathan Hullihan, Jameson Ellis, Morgan Luttrell, Rudy Atencio, Jonathan Mitchell, Paulette Carson, Dan McKaughan, Martin Etwop, and Ryan Jarchow.
Most of these candidates, whom I am sure are well-intentioned, have about as much chance of becoming congressman as I do of becoming Supreme Leader of North Korea.
At this point the front-runner is retired Navy SEAL Morgan Luttrell. Luttrell has close ties to former Gov. Rick Perry (having worked under him in the Trump administration) and has a lot of support in D.C. and among local elected officials in Montgomery County. He has also raised the most money by far. The only other candidate on that stage currently in a position to be viable is former Navy JAG attorney Jonathan Hullihan. Paulette Carson has raised a little money, and actually has a professional campaign, however, being from a small rural county on the edge of the current district is going to make it hard for her to win, and if the redistricting plan goes through, she will not be in CD-08 anymore.
As for the others, who knows? One of them could win the lottery or have a rich relative die or by some other means come into the million plus dollars needed to just be competitive. Stranger things have happened. However, it is my personal opinion that many of the vast multitude of candidates running for congress could accomplish much more good by channeling their passions into running for school board or some other local office.
The full field for CD-08 has yet to even take shape. There are most likely at least two serious candidates who have yet to announce: State Rep. Steve Toth (R-Conroe) and Texas Youth Summit founder and former Brady campaign manager Christian Collins.
However, the greatest unknown when it comes to the CD-08 race is whether the district will even look anything like it does now by the time the legislature is finished drawing the new maps.
And that concludes the Texas Citizen Journal’s 100th article! Yee-haw!
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