Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen vows to punish Republicans who oppose Democrats during the 2020 elections.
According to Brandon Waltens of Texas Scorecard, Dennis Bonnen is making it clear to elected officials: “Campaign against incumbents, and you will be punished.”
During a media interview earlier in the week, Bonnen stated that he was implementing a new policy of banning members from participating in other electoral campaigns, which effectively prevents “legislators from endorsing, financially contributing, or otherwise assisting in races against incumbent members.”
Bonnen used the following reasoning to justify this move:
If members of the Legislature are out campaigning against each other, you then don’t accomplish things like that because you bring the elections into the legislative process, and you don’t get over the wounds and the battles. And then people turn into Washington, and you’re simply here to legislate on politics, not on policy and not on accomplishment of success.
Waltens noted that Bonnen’s decision stands in stark contrast to what Governor Greg Abbott has done in the past.
This is a notable departure from precedent in the last few legislative sessions, where even Gov. Greg Abbott took the extraordinary step of endorsing in primary elections against liberal Republicans in the legislature, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick supported then-State Rep. Pat Fallon (R–Prosper) in his successful primary challenge against State Sen. Craig Estes (R–Wichita Falls).
However, Bonnen takes it to another level by saying these rules don’t just apply to primary elections, but he also wants to extend them to the general election as well. The Houston Chronicle reported that Bonnen’s warning “applies to members of both parties and those who serve as party chairs.”
Waltens argues that following Bonnen’s new rules is a dangerous strategy for Republicans.
With Republicans losing 12 seats in the last election, and holding a narrow 83-67 majority in the Texas House this session, members following Bonnen’s demand would be banned from contributing to Republican candidates in swing districts or otherwise endorsing efforts to grow their majority.
If any member does not comply with Bonnen’s demands, the House Speaker says he would “publicly come out against members who take part and penalize them in the next legislative session.”
This announcement came around the same time that Bonnen praised anti-gun Democratic State Representative Joe Moody, stating to a reporter that he thinks “Texas would be very blessed if there was a Democrat majority and Joe Moody wanted to lead the House.”
For some grassroots activists, Bonnen’s dedication to keeping Texas red is now being questioned.
Texas Political Establishment Attempts to Derail Shelley Luther’s Campaign
The special election for Texas’ Senate District 30 is on pace to be one of the most heated races in the Lone Star State.
At a candidate forum on September 18, 2020, Shelley Luther, the Dallas salon owner who was jailed for opening her business in defiance of Governor Greg Abbott’s shutdown order, confronted outgoing State Senator Pat Fallon.
Fallon vacated his seat and is now backing a successor in State Representative Drew Springer.
“We don’t want somebody who’s going to be at odds with our Republican governor,” Fallon said September 18 at the Grayson County Republican Women’s Club.
I didn’t support some of the things that he has done about opening up. … So, he’s made some mistakes. He’s our Republican governor, the 80/20 rule … because you’re not going to get any bills passed unless the governor signs them.
“Let me make something clear. I am accountable to my fellow citizens in Senate District 30. Not our Governor,” Luther responded on September 19 on Facebook:
This is exactly what is wrong with Austin. Our politicians are more loyal to Abbott than us, even when they disagree with him.
I will work with Governor Abbott when he is fighting to protect the liberty of Texans, and I will oppose him when he pushes unilateral dictates that shut down our local businesses.
Fallon and Luther had a tense exchange, which was caught on video.
“You want me to go all in on this race?” Fallon questioned Luther. “I have been 5 percent in on this race. You want me to go all in on it, I’m welcome to.”
“This has become a straight-up fight between Abbott and the ‘Kumbaya’ Professional Political Class vs. the grassroots and people who remember what limited government and principles should look like,” opined conservative activist Mike Openshaw.
“Respectfully, being willing to be jailed for fighting over-reaching government shows principle; that counts for something, Patrick,” Openshaw continued.
Luther has recently received endorsements from conservative Collin County Judge Chris Hill and Young Conservatives of Texas. Springer, on the other hand, received an endorsement from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which asserted that Luther was going down a “far right” path.
A Republican is expected to carry the senate district, which may still require a runoff if the leading candidate does not get enough votes during the first round of the special election.
Election Day will be on September 29.
Luther is viewed as the truly conservative option and many believe she could help break the political status quo in Austin that has kept conservative legislation from ever being passed.
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