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The Myth of Joe Straus

As Erick noted earlier today, my fellow Texans have a clear, distinct choice as to who will be the Speaker of the Texas House coming up this Tuesday, January 11th. Let’s be honest. There is a clear cut difference between Joe Straus and Ken Paxton. For more on that, check this site out.

In spite of all the ads he has bought on Drudge, NewsMax and other conservative sites, Joe Straus and the word “conservative” do not belong next to each other. Leftwing, progressive, liberal-yes. But conservative? Not a chance.

As a man whose family is deeply entrenched in the gambling industry, lauded by groups like NARAL, Planned Parenthood, who worked with his lieutenants to kill good immigration reform bills and a very good Voter ID bill this past session, Straus is as far left on a host of issues as Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer at the federal level. These are poster boys of the Left in case you hadn’t noticed.

And yet, Joe Straus is desperately trying to wrap himself in the mantle of conservatism and hope no one has paid attention to either his actions of those of the committee chairmen he appointed last legislative cycle.

On top of his progressive politics, Straus and his team have been running around Texas claiming credit for the massive wave experienced here on November 2nd. Nothing could be further from the truth. He claims to have helped Republicans pick-up dozens of seats, yet he did not give one dollar to any Republican challengers this fall, preferring to spend his time fundraising for Democrats while his lieutenants actively worked to knock off conservative incumbents in the Texas House.

And while he was not lifting a finger to help Republican challengers win, he was handing out six figure sums to incumbents who won by healthy double digits this fall. Look at the tables below. The first is the amount of money Republican challengers received from Joe Straus or his leadership PAC (it’s a grand total of zero).

The second is a compilation of Young Conservatives of Texas rankings, the percentage these incumbents won by and the amount of money they received from Joe Straus. Given the different names and entities Joe Straus and his camp give under (Joe Straus, Joe R. Straus III, Straus, Joe and Texas House Leadership to name a few) it is hard to peg the actual numbers, but the tables below come close (seriously, Tim Kleinschmidt, you needed $435k to win by 33% this fall?! And Doc Anderson, really? $177k to win by 20%? I’ll leave Linda Harper-Brown alone this time-I’ve already pointed out the optics problem she faces in earlier posts.)

Table 1:  Zero financial support by Straus for seats taken by GOP from Democratic Incumbents

P

Dist

Legislator

Candidate Reported $ from Straus

% Won*

Margin of Victory

R

1

George Lavender

$0

52-41

11

R

3

Erwin Cain

$0

57-43

14

R

12

James White

$0

58-42

16

R

33

Raul Torres

$0

53-47

6

R

34

Connie Scott

$0

54-46

8

R

35

Jose Aliseda

$0

53-47

6

R

45

Jason A. Isaac

$0

54-46

8

R

47

Paul D. Workman

$0

50-46

4

R

52

Larry Gonzales

$0

57-38

19

R

57

Marva Beck

$0

52-46

6

R

78

Dee Margo

$0

52-48

4

R

93

Barbara Nash

$0

49-48

1

R

96

Bill Zedler

$0

52-48

4

R

101

Cindy Burkett

$0

52-48

4

R

102

Stefani Carter

$0

55-45

10

R

106

Rodney E. Anderson

$0

49-48

1

R

107

Kenneth Sheets

$0

51-46

5

R

117

John V. Garza

$0

52-48

4

R

133

Jim Murphy

$0

56-42

6

R

134

Sarah Davis

$0

51-49

2

* Not = 100 due to rounding and minor party candidates.  Top 2 candidates shown (R-D)

Table 2:  Where Straus money was spent
(Straus & his campaign funds & the THLF)

Dist

Legislator

81st YCT
****

% Won*

Margin of Victory

Subtotal Money

Chair

Gang of 11

11

Hopson, Chuck

35.5

76-24

52

$17,500

YES

17

Kleinschmidt, Tim

80.6

65-32

33

$435,000

24

Taylor, Larry

86.7

89-11**

78

$5,000

28

Zerwas, John

60.7

71-29

42

$5,000

53

Hilderbran, Harvey

77.4

90-10**

80

$2,500

55

Sheffield, Ralph

83.9

81-19**

62

$2,500

56

Anderson, Doc

83.9

58-38

20

$177,500

58

Orr, Rob

80.6

76-20

56

$5,000

62

Phillips, Larry

90.3

88-12**

76

$5,000

63

Parker, Tan

93.5

100-0***

100

$2,500

73

Miller, Doug

71.0

86-14**

72

$2,500

83

Jones, Delwin

51.6

LOST Primary

$15,000

YES

YES

89

Laubenberg, Jodie

96.7

100-0***

100

$2,500

92

Smith, Todd

58.1

71-29

42

$12,500

YES

94

Patrick, Diane

54.8

85-10**

75

$2,500

97

Shelton, Mark

73.3

86-14**

72

$2,500

98

Truitt, Vicki

74.2

100-0***

100

$12,500

YES

99

Geren, Charlie

58.6

100-0***

100

$22,500

YES

YES

105

Harper-Brown, Linda

83.9

52-45

7

$350,000

108

Branch, Dan

61.3

65-33

32

$5,000

YES

112

Button, Angie Chen

74.2

83-17**

65

$2,500

113

Driver, Joe

65.5

57-43

14

$317,500

126

Harless, Patricia

71.0

68-32

36

$7,500

129

Davis, John

76.7

100-0***

100

$2,500

130

Fletcher, Allen

90.3

89-11

78

$7,500

138

Bohac, Dwayne

53.6

63-35

28

$175,000

144

Legler, Ken

93.5

59-38

21

$365,000

* Not = 100 due to rounding and minor party candidates.
Top 2 candidates shown (usually R-D)

** No Democratic party challenger

*** No general election challenger at all

**** YCT = Young Conservatives of Texas voting rating

So, if you are a state Representative (and I especially want to challenge you freshmen), here in Texas sitting on the fence wondering which way you should vote on January 11th, I want to challenge you with this thought. Did Joe Straus help get you elected this fall? Or did he go out of his way to protect his cronies? And if Joe Straus did not help you get elected, who did?

The answer is simple. Tea party and grassroots conservatives. And guess what, if they could create the tidal wave they created on November 2nd, they can re-create that very same tidal wave during the primary season in 2012.

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