Dennis Bonnen’s First Moves as Presumptive Speaker

November 15, 2018

Nearly ALL of it great stuff for conservatives and a reason to hope

  1. Press Conferences announcing 109 supporters – He kept it VERY brief; only took 2 questions; Scott Braddock was first, asking if there would be Democrat chairs. “I’m glad you actually asked me that here since you already wrote that there wouldn’t be; yes, we will have Democrat chairs.” A headslap to a reporter first thing out the gate; Great stuff.  Answered that education finance would be the top priority And that was it. Less than 10 minutes.
    How he got to 109 is very important; he SPECIFICALLY did it by going through the GOP caucus FIRST to assure the super-majority needed for the GOP caucus meeting; only then started call some Democrats. He did it the RIGHT way, not as Straus did and Rep. Clardy was planning to.
  2. Picked Bryan McCall to head transition team – Bryan was a Collin County state rep with a VERY weak voting record and was being targeted by conservatives when he took a chancellor job in the UT system. Probably why he was chosen is, beyond knowing Austins ins & outs, he’s done a dissertation on Texas Speakers and knows historically the approaches they took. As transition leader, acceptable & may give some guidance on past examples.
  3. Called his #1 conservative adversary Jonathan Stickland – they apparently had a constructive conversation and Jonathan is less concerned about him as speaker. All other Freedom Caucus member were already on board.
  4. Signalling that lobbyists are not part of his actual ‘team’; Gordon Johnson is out. – This is a new and critical dynamic.
  5. Picked a pretty solid conservative as Chief of Staff – Gavin Massingill
  6. Put together a 10 member, 5R/5D to select a new Parliamentarian – this addresses complaints from BOTH sides that Straus’s parliamentarian was strictly ruling based on what Straus wanted; it had gotten ludicrous.
  7. Talked & released a joint statement with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick – about a new era of cooperative work with the conservative Senate. That will be refreshing.
  8. Named Gardner Pate as Director of Policy & General Counsel – A great choice; a long history on ethics reform and runs the conservative coalition Research Institute

So is everything just perfect?  By NO means! Anyone who has dealt with Dennis in his committees knows he is a hard case and there is some concern hi temper will get the better of him in this job (it is a MADDENING undertaking of herding feral cats). He’s been very much a ‘My way or the highway’ type in many instances. That can work FOR the conservative cause- or against it.
The jury is still out, but an exceptionally promising set of opening moves. FAR better that was expected after the election.

Speaker Dennis Bonnen a given

November 13, 2018

So, the Speaker race is essentially done. The GOP caucus vote will be meaningless, but it LOOMING in the future was useful in getting this decision. I know some people are disappointed that a LOT of this was done behind the scenes; unfortunately it apparently became necessary because the Democrats. were planning to spring their OWN coalition right after the election; a Straus-style coalition of the Democrats plus enough GOP members supporting Clardy to seal the deal. After losing so many GOP members in the election, it became imperative to settle things quickly.
Why Dennis Bonnen, over say Tan Parker or Phil King? Certainly not privy to those conversation but I can assume a major reason: There is no question that Dennis is the biggest ‘hard-ass’ in the House. While that gives me substantial concern for how he’l run things, I can assure, as soon as his name came forward with his initial list, a number of GOP members froze, terrified they’d go into the Strausian deal, watch a couple members get peeled off and LOSE to Bonnen. Nightmare visions of red staplers, janitorial closets as offices, and a sole committee assignment to a new Committee on Waste Regulation danced in their heads. More & more joined on with Bonnen and the steam roller moved on.
What it means to the conservative agenda of Freedom Caucus types? We REALLY don’t know. I know theat Jonathan Stickland isn’t happy about this; he and Dennis have ‘issues’ with each other; hopefully they’ll work something out; Stick is GREAT at being the ‘bad cop’ when it comes to bad bills, Dennis should accept that and actually use it to some degree. . The rest? I am surprised how accepting they were of Dennis over others. So it may go OK. But one thing is for sure. Dennis Bonnen will drive this train HIS way; it’s in his nature. Committee assignments will tell the story and I Certainly don’t expect Speaker Bonnen to be the 35-day slacker Straus was
More later..

Texas Lege Contests; Q2 Money

August 5, 2018

Here is a file of Texas Legislative races contested in Nov. and the associated money at the end of July.

They are sorted in the House side by the Democrat Cash On Hand as of July 1, something of a measure of how Democrats plan to target the legislative races. The numbers suggest a fairly minimal effort on the Senate side, mainly against Konni Burton & Angela Paxton. But the House has some pretty clear targeting with Dem dollars (highlighted in the spreadsheet); Mainly Dallas County seats, especially Matt Rinaldi‘s.
Remember, these are early financial numbers; but is is informational.

Kansas Voter Citizenship Ruling Actually Good News

July 7, 2018

Realize this is only a lower court ruling on the Kansas citizenship check law, but it is less bad news than good news for those wanting to assure that voters in Texas are indeed citizens
“The court referenced the emerging practice of comparing statewide voter lists to other official databases like drivers license customers and the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program. Expanding the practice of sharing data from jury clerks with written claims of noncitizenship to election officials also receives mention.”
These are techniques that the State of Texas actually has the data to utilize. Considering the fact we now have non-citizens getting CONVICTED for voting illegally (Here & this one pending), the next legislative session is the time to consider this and get it in place.
There were 36 different bills last session addressing components of this issue. Not much got done, but maybe, with different House leadership- hopefully not overly beholden to Democrats- something CAN be don to assure a voter IS a citizen- or, at least, has not been designated a non-citizen in government records elsewhere.

Texas Lege Considerations for November

July 1, 2018

You all are welcome to post whatever comments below.


Primary Runoff Early Voting has Started.

May 15, 2018

Voting times vary somewhat by county but larger counties are generally 7am-7pm. Here are the latest multi-group recommendations for GOP runoff candidates with statewide reach.

Definitely need EVERY conservative vote in this.

Runoff Guides- working on 2 styles

March 21, 2018

We’ve completed guides for 3 counties so far and put tem in 2 styles. The ones with the -s on the end only lists the actual races in the county, as opposed to including all the statewide/regionals in a grayed-out form.  The shorter versions make for easy handouts, but looks too minimalistic is there only say 2 races as in Collin county.  Check them out one the top right of the page here. We’ll add additional counties as we can.