As the primary season approaches, Texas conservatives are quickly regrouping.
After a disappointing 2019 legislative session, which saw Constitutional Carry die without even a vote, Texas conservatives have grown anxious with the Texas Republican party. Texas still has relatively solid gun laws, but grassroots activists worry that the GOP has become far too complacent on the issue. Beyond guns, Texas GOP leadership did not address other hot button issues such as property taxes and abortion.
A group of conservatives pins the blame on House Speaker Dennis Bonnen for killing numerous conservative legislative priorities. One activist took it a step further by forming his own PAC, Boot Bonnen, in efforts to oust the incumbent House Speaker and replace him with a speaker that is willing to take up conservative issues.
BLP reached out to Tom Glass, the Treasurer of Boot Bonnen for his thoughts on the past legislative session and what plans his organization has in store for the Lone Star State during the 2020 elections.
- What is Boot Bonnen mostly focused on?
Because Dennis Bonnen has betrayed the voters of HD 25 and the principles, platform, and priorities of the Republican Party of Texas, the mission of Boot Bonnen is to defeat him in the upcoming 2020 elections in his home district of HD 25 in Brazoria and Matagorda Counties. The most likely way to defeat him is the GOP primary in March, 2020.
Bonnen’s defeat will send shockwaves through the political establishment in Texas. It will be a rebuke to Abbott and Patrick (who are not up for election in 2020) for their pandering moves with Bonnen to the left, and it will be a message to elected Texas House Republicans that they should do a better job of picking a speaker in the future.
While other avenues are being tried to unseat Dennis Bonnen, it is likely that the only Texas institution that will take effective action against Bonnen is the voters in his own district.
- How would you rate the 2019 legislative session?
While there were a few victories like getting rid of red light cameras and the Texas “Driver Responsibility” program, for liberty lovers the overall session was an almost complete failure. This happened because of the flawed strategic vision and lack of commitment to liberty principles and priorities of the big three leaders, Dennis Bonnen, Greg Abbott, and Dan Patrick.
- What would you say were the biggest fouls that Bonnen committed during the 2019 legislative session?
Dennis Bonnen told everyone he would be different from Joe Straus, but he more effectively delivered on the Straus strategy of working with the Democrats to blunt the liberty priorities of the GOP. Here is a list of his fouls:
- Not only failed to deliver on the number one GOP legislative priority – constitutional carry, but he bashed those advocating for it (calling all gun groups other than the NRA and TSRA “fringe” and creating a bogus media firestorm about Chris McNutt, Texas Gun Rights Association Executive Director leafleting in his district) and actively killed constitutional carry while grossly misrepresenting it, claiming that constitutional carry was “an issue that is simply about allowing a felon carry a gun.” Along the way, he bashed those advocating for constitutional carry as “someone living in the woods in a cave somewhere.”
- Bashed the premier organization promoting life, Texas Right to Life.
- Threatened all House incumbents with retaliation if they supported challengers against incumbents in other districts, thereby showing that his goal is NOT advancing a liberty agenda or even advancing the Republican Party, but protecting the status quo.
- Appointed anti-gun and pro-abortion Democrats to key committees.
- Appointed anti-gun Democrat Joe Moody as his stand-in (Speaker Pro Tem) and praising him as someone who would make a great speaker.
Without any discussion about what the strategic vision of Republicans should be in response to the 2018 Beto surge, Dennis Bonnen, Greg Abbott, and Dan Patrick have decided that pandering to the left is the right response.
- How is your organization planning to get rid of Bonnen?
We plan to make sure that the voters likely to vote in the GOP primary know about his betrayals of them, and let them make the right decision.
- Has Boot Bonnen endorsed any candidates for office?
When we started the PAC, there were no known challengers. We said that someone randomly chosen off the voter rolls would be better for the voters than Dennis Bonnen. Since then, Rhonda Seth has launched an active campaign as a Republican against Dennis Bonnen. While we like Rhonda Seth, we have not endorsed her. Our main mission is to educate the voters about Bonnen’s betrayals, and we want to focus on that.
- What do you think are the biggest issues heading into the 2021 legislative session?
The biggest issue is whether Republican elected officials are going to actively advance the legislative priorities, platform, and principles of the party they claim to represent, or whether they will pander to the media and the left and serve the crony establishment. In other words, the biggest question is who do the elected officials of the Republican Party serve? Their rank and file voters and activists or the cronies and the lefty media?
BLP will continue to cover all major developments taking place in Texas in the next election cycle.
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