Texas is one of a handful of states which use a primary runoff system which helps open up the process and makes it somewhat easier for insurgent candidates to challenge incumbents and establishment picked candidates. This process has created important opportunities for liberty candidates in this year’s Republican primary. The result is that out of a very large field of great liberty contenders we’ve ended up with four outstanding RLC endorsees in position to win their primaries. And in most parts of Texas winning the Republican primary is almost the same as winning the general election.
The primary was about a month ago and there are about two and a half weeks to go until the runoff vote. In the last few weeks these liberty contenders have been racking up important endorsements. The Republican Liberty Caucus endorsed them before the primary. This week the influential Young Conservatives of Texas endorsed all four of them. Local Republican parties, delegates and clubs are getting on board and momentum really seems to be building behind what has turned into a kind of liberty slate for the state.
Leading the pack is Senatorial candidate Ted Cruz. Cruz and the Texas RLC have worked closely together during the campaign. He was the headliner at a series of candidate events we held around the state, lending his coattails to other promising candidates and going above and beyond to meet with Liberty Republicans and grassroots activists whenever he had a chance. He made it to the runoff out of a very crowded field and is now running a very contentious campaign with a great deal of mud being slung at him by his opponent Lt. Governor David Dewhurst who is the ultimate wealthy and powerful insider – as close to an incumbent as you can get without already holding office. Cruz has taken strong positions in opposition to the NDAA, CISPA and other civil liberties overreaches from the federal government. He’s not perfect on every issue, but he has been endorsed by Rand Paul and Ron Paul and every other RLC endorsee in the Senate and they really want him in DC to help them push a small government, pro-liberty agenda. Ted’s opponent is spending over $1 million a week on deceptive attack ads. He could use your help to fight back if you can contribute anything.
A top contender among our congressional candidates is Wes Riddle who is running in CD25 just south of Austin. Wes is a former RLC of Texas board member, a military veterans and former instructor at West Point, and a leader of extraordinary integrity. He has written a very good book about his ideas on liberty and he exemplifies the kind of conservative-leaning libertarian leaders we tend to produce in Texas. Wes was just endorsed by Ron Paul, making him one of a small group Paul has tagged as his potential successors in the House of Representatives. Wes is running against a well-funded insider named Roger Williams who is a hardcore religious conservative and has a large fortune from his chain of car dealerships. He’s outspending Wes 10 to 1, but Wes has the grassroots support and they are neck and neck in polls. Williams was a big supporter of the auto bailout and his wife actually lobbied in DC for bailout money on behalf of GM. Wes needs all the help he can get to defeat Williams, so if you can give anything don’t hold back.
Jessica Puente Bradshaw is running in CD34 in southeast Texas against a party insider who has been running a pretty desperate smear campaign. She started out as an underdog, but with a cascade of new endorsements she’s taking the lead in her race. She’s been a big supporter of the RLC, appearing on our live video events and appearing as the featured guest at our RLC party at the state GOP convention last month. Her positions on liberty issues are excellent and she can be a real firebrand. Of the RLC endorsees who have made the runoffs she comes closest to embodying our ideal combination of strong pro-liberty positions and political pragmatism. Putting a hispanic Republican woman with the same philosophy as Ron Paul in Congress in 2012 would be a real coup. Help her out if you can.
Steve Stockman, running in the new CD36, is a former congressman who was an ally of Ron Paul during his brief term in Congress in the 1990s and got squeezed out by redistricting. Now he’s on his way back with a lot of support from an old guard of liberty-leaning Republicans in east Texas. His race is peculiar, with his main opposition from a wealthy former Democrat who seems to have almost no Republican credentials. Steve has backing from the RLC and local tea party groups and various statewide conservative organizations, but lags behind in fundraising. Nonetheless he has a real chance at a win and could use all the support he can get.
While it’s unfortunate that the Texas congressional delegation is losing Ron Paul next year, with such a great slate of candidates who have already made it into winnable runoff elections, it seems quite likely that Texas will have an even stronger role in promoting a pro-liberty agenda than we do now. No one can really replace Ron Paul, but four new Liberty Republicans in Congress and one in the Senate might be even better.
The runoff election is on July 31st and we’re expecting low turnout, normally a bad thing, but in this situation it favors informed and highly motivated voters and that describes the liberty constituency pretty well.