Hot on the trail of the 86th Texas Legislature’s Sine Die, Gov. Greg Abbott has made great efforts to keep the “Kumbaya” hymn going with republican incumbents in Austin. The effort is a start change in tune from last session, when Abbott spent over $360,000 campaigning against three House members who challenged him on ethics reform.
An outwardly revenge-hungry Abbott cast shadows on fellow Republicans Rep. Sarah Davis (R-Houston), Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio), and Rep. Wayne Faircloth (R-Galveston) for not falling in line with the party platform. Rep. Davis and Rep. Larson seemingly questioned Abbott’s authority in 2017 by opposing members “buying access”. In light of their criticism, Gov. Abbott’s campaign has accrued over $14 million from his state board member appointees, highlighting the “pay-for-play” discrepancy.
Of all his attacks, Rep. Faircloth was the only incumbent unseated by Gov. Abbott’s frenzied efforts. Rep. Faircloth remarked on the issue, stating: “If you want to be on the board of regents at the University of Texas, you need to make a donation. I don’t think that’s right. We think that needs to be addressed.”
Abbott’s previously failed attempts at challenging incumbents’ districts seems to have struck a chord with Texas Republicans, who were willing to go along with the theme of unity this session to not stir up any retaliations from Gov. Abbott during the interim campaign cycle.
Remarking on his intentions to keep the peace between members of his party, the Governor stated, “I will very aggressively campaign for Republican House and Senate members. They were heavily involved in delivering one of the most successful sessions in decades, and they deserve to be rewarded for their hard work with reelection by their constituents.”
With Democrats poised to put up a fight this coming election cycle, time will tell if Abbott chooses not to flex his muscles over a power struggle for the sake of harmony.