Moderate Republican PACs see Success in Run-Off, But Far Right PACs Still Gaining Influence

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On the whole, May 27 was a good day for far-right, Tea Party candidates running for office in Texas. Candidates like viciously anti-immigrant Dan Patrick and criminal and Ted-Cruz BFF Ken Paxton handily defeated their slightly more moderate Republican opponents. The Republican statewide candidates are overall one of the most conservative tickets Texas has ever seen.

When it came to the run-offs for the state legislature, results were slightly more balanced. Both far-right and moderate Republican PACs continued to fight for control of legislative seats. As we did previously, BOR examined the endorsement records of four Republican PACs–the moderate, education-focused Texas Parent PAC, the more conservative Texans for Lawsuit Reform, and two extremely conservative PACS, the Young Conservatives of Texas and Michael Quinn Sullivan's Empower Texans PAC, in order to get a better picture of who is really in control of the Texas Legislature.

We looked at who which Republican PACs came out on top after the May 27 run-off — and the results may surprise you.

See which PACs did the best on May 27 after the jump.After a rough time during the original primary on March 4, the moderate Texas Parent PAC saw a surge of success, with the most overall wins in its legislative races. They even ousted another incumbent, bringing the total number of conservative incumbents ousted by moderates to two.

The table below summarizes the results of Texas legislative races where Texas Parent PAC, TLR, YCT and Empower Texans made endorsements.

Texas Parent PAC's moderate candidates saw the most wins on May 27, with 4 victorious candidates to YCT and TLR's 3 and Empower Texans' 2. Both sides ousted one incumbent each, with Parent PAC ousting Stefani Carter in HD 102 and YCT/Empower Texans defeating State Sen. Bob Deuell in SD 2 by a hair. Nonetheless, the run-off election was a success for many moderate Republicans in the Texas Legislature.

Texans shouldn't be lulled into a false sense of security by the moderate Republican victories in the run-off, however. The run-offs only represent a small number of the total races for control of the Texas Legislature. And when it comes to the big picture, hyper-conservatives are still in control.

As we pointed out after March 4, far right PACs like YCT and Empower Texans are gaining influence in the Texas Legislature. They ousted 5 incumbents on March 4, and with Deuell's loss, they've ousted a total of 6 more moderate Republicans in favor of conservative ones. The moderate victories in the run-off only came after extra months of hard work, campaigning, and resources spent. Tea Party groups still won more legislative races outright in March.

The message to Republican moderates is still the same–disagreeing with the far right wing of the party will put you at a disadvantage come election time.

Note: This post has been updated to correctly reflect that HD 132 was an open seat.


About Author

Katie Singh

Katie grew up in Austin and has been involved in Texas politics since 2004. She has been a part of several campaigns, from state house races to working at President Obama's campaign headquarters in 2012. She loves public policy, public health, and tacos. Katie tweets from @kasingh19.

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