Image via Progress Texas
On Tuesday, Republican primary voters made the final selections for their statewide ticket. Other states have seen a move away from Tea Party candidates during these midterm elections – but not Texas.
Conservative extremism isn't the only thing these candidates have in common. They are also all men – and they are all bad news for women in Texas.
More below the jump.Perhaps the most visible example of the problem is Dan Patrick, who was chosen as the Republican candidate for one of the most powerful positions in Texas by less than 4% of registered voters in the state. During the filibuster in July, he was one of the most vocal in trying to shut Wendy Davis down and push through a vote before the clock stuck twelve. That's probably because he authored one of the bills that became a part of the omnibus abortion bill in special session. Patrick filed a bill in regular session focused at making medical abortion (the pill RU 486) harder to access and use by requiring doctors to follow outdated, unnecessary FDA guidelines. Patrick's argument was that we ought to be following the set procedures by the FDA – even though the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support using newer, evidence-based policies. Medical abortion was a simple and safe procedure until his bill passed as a part of House Bill 2. Now, it requires four separate doctor's visits, putting this service out of reach for many low-income and rural Texas women.
If you've been paying attention at all to the Wendy Davis campaign, you know that there are plenty of reasons that women in Texas shouldn't trust gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. Women on his staff earn less than their male counterparts (maybe that's why he's so opposed to equal pay legislation). When his advisers tweet degrading and sexist remarks about his opponent and post violent threats to her person on his Facebook page, he remains silent. This is not the kind of person Texas women need in the governor's seat.
Ken Paxton beat out moderate Dan Branch to run for Attorney General. Paxton has publicly supported the omnibus abortion bill. Women in Texas do not need another Attorney General who does not respect their legal and constitutional rights to make their own decisions about medical services in office in 2015.
Glenn Hager, candidate for Comptroller, can do Paxton one better: he was the senate author for the omnibus abortion bil. Hager, like all of his fellow candidates on the ballot, does not need more power or control over the state of Texas – whatever form that takes.
Even the candidate for Agricultural Commissioner, Sid Miller, has a track record that should make every person in Texas squeamish. Miller wasn't around for the 83rd session, and so he was not a part of the omnibus abortion bill – but he did author the sonogram bill from 2011, which passed and has been implemented in clinics across the state.
Yes, as many have pointed out, the mere fact that the Texas GOP could nominate an entire statewide ballot of fifteen candidates without a single woman in 2014 is enough to prove that the Republican party in this state is not the best choice for women. But, it is even worse than that. This statewide ballot is full of candidates who have made it their mission to stop any effort to advance women's rights in the state through laws addressing issues like equal pay, and to further reduce women's agency through laws aimed at restricting women's access to family planning services from every angle. This year's Republican ticket isn't just bad for Texas women – it is toxic.