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Which Texas Democrats Are Most Likely To Switch Parties?
This is a warning. Our Democratic seats are precious, we need legislators in them that work for Democratic values. If they aren't or are gearing up to switch parties, they should be primaried.
When Representative Ryan Guillen switched parties, many were angry, but few were surprised. If you follow the Legislature long enough, you notice that some Democrats cross the aisle regularly to help advance Republican priorities. In the years before Guillen switched, you would have thought he was a Republican based on his votes.
All over the country this year, Democrats are running in Democratic areas, getting elected as Democrats, and then switching to Republicans after they’re sworn in. We just saw another incident of party switching with Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.
In the Texas legislature, there are a handful of Democrats who have consistently voted with Republicans to advance Republican priorities. I will tell you who they are and some of the stuff they’ve been voting on. The right thing to do is primary these people now. If they aren’t primaried, and they switch parties after the next election, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Senator Chuy Hinojosa.
In the 88th Regular Session, Hinojosa crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans on making Texas an Oil and Gas Sanctuary State. This summer, many parts of Texas saw over 120° weather on orange and red air quality days. When the temperature is that high, and the air quality is that bad, even going outside for a few minutes can feel as if you’re suffocating. We are in a full-blown climate crisis, and it’s only worsening. We need to move away from oil and gas, like yesterday. Pandering to fossil fuels and denying climate change will hurt millions of people, and it’ll only get worse.
Hinojosa also voted to prohibit companies in Texas from using an ESG rating. This was dumb since ESG ratings tell investors if a company is a responsible environmental steward. Republicans wanted to ban it because they called it “woke,” but it boils down to whether a business is an ecological polluter or not. ESG ratings impacted oil companies because investment firms said they were poisoning people, which is true. So, by banning these ratings, the fossil fuel industry can continue to poison Texans and not worry about losing investors.
SB1938 allows the Secretary of State to withhold funding to a registrar if they are not regularly purging their voter rolls. Republicans like voter roll purges because it gives them the chance to remove as many Democrats from voting as possible. If the voter has a common name, like John Smith or Juan Garcia, they are most likely to get purged because people with the same name moved or died. It’s just one of the dozens of voter disenfranchisement tools the GOP is using.
Hinojosa also voted to remove Texas from ERIC, the interstate voter registration crosscheck program. This is going to make our elections less secure and allow Republicans more opportunities to cheat. The GOP did this because of some stupid conspiracy theories started by Tucker Carlson, which was complete misinformation. It boggles the mind on how Republicans legislate on lies, and any Democrat would cross the aisle to join them on falsehoods.
Representative Philip Cortez.
Who? Yeah, this guy flies under the radar, so we rarely hear about him. He’s a San Antonio Democrat for District 117 and all of the above positions that Chuy Hinojosa voted for, Cortez voted for as well. You’ll notice that many legislators on this list are border Democrats. Maybe it’s easier to see why border Democrats would vote on awful fossil fuel legislation, even though it’s wrong. Perhaps they are considering the job market, but that’s still no reason to kill millions of people with climate change. However, Cortez is not a border Democrat.
Cortez went beyond Hinojosa’s votes in the 88th Legislative Session and voted to prohibit cities from taking any action on climate change. Aside from the fact that local control is a Democratic Platform issue, blocking cities from keeping their residents safe from fossil fuel pollution is just bad governance.
During the 87th Legislature, when the GOP was hyper-focused on voter disenfranchisement, Cortez helped them with their cause. He voted to increase the penalty for making a mistake on a ballot to a second-degree felony. The language on the bill stated even if the person was unaware, they were making a mistake. It’s just to scare certain people out of voting.
Cortez also voted to prohibit the enforcement of any federal regulations on firearms. This means even though guns are the leading cause of death for young people in Texas, if Congress passes a ban on AR15s, Texas will refuse to uphold it. It’s just dumb, considering AR15s are only good for killing the most people in the shortest time.
Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins.
I never would have considered Gervin-Hawkins a candidate for switching parties until she came out recently in favor of the GOP’s school voucher program. As it turns out, San Antonio Democrats told me she owned a charter school. So, she’s looking at the situation selfishly instead of what’s best for all Texas school children. That’s why, when looking at her donations, you’ll see she’s taken plenty of money from Republican PACs. But how does she vote?
Gervin-Hawkins also voted to make Texas an oil and gas sanctuary, she voted against cities taking action on climate change, she voted to ban cities from banning the sale of gas cars, and she voted to prohibit cities from banning gas hookups on new construction.
Looking at Gervin-Hawkins donation records, she doesn’t get money from the fossil fuel industry, but she votes like she works for them.
Representative Bobby Guerra.
I’m going to start calling these guys Fossil Fuel Democrats because that’s what they are. It doesn’t matter that we live in Texas. We are in a catastrophic climate emergency that is killing thousands of people each year. We need to reverse course, and if you’re still placating to the oil industry in 2023, somewhere along the line, you lost your way.
Aside from voting for all of the GOP’s love of oil and pollution, Guerra also voted in 2021 to penalize any municipality that reduced police funding. This bill was important to Black and brown communities who wanted to invest in mental health services or community relationships because it stopped them from doing that. Cities have been looking for ways to reduce the amount of police violence incidents, whether that be through hiring mental health mediators or other programs. This was one way the GOP decided to stop that and keep incidents of police violence high.
Guerra, in 2021, also voted to allow guns to be stored in school parking lots and for school resource officers to be allowed to carry guns on campus. He voted to enable the advertising of the “Choose Life Grant,” which is taxpayer-funded money that goes to Christian pregnancy centers that talk women out of having an abortion.
Guerra voted for banning state contracts with companies that boycott Israel, which is an Islamophobia dog whistle. And in 2013, right after the Shelby-Holder decision, Guerra voted for some of the worst gerrymandering in decades.
Representative Oscar Longoria.
There have been jokes made on the House floor on whether Longoria was a Republican or a Democrat. Longoria has a history of voting for fossil fuels and against local control, but he’s also voted for racist legislation that would target the Hispanic population in this state. For instance, he voted for the creation of border police. Already knowing the cost and the failures of Operation Lone Star, creating border police would have resulted in billions of more dollars on taxpayers and mass incarceration of both American citizens and asylum seekers. It didn’t pass because it was so awful.
Representative Sergio Muñoz.
Considering Muñoz’s voting history, it’s hard to understand why he even calls himself a Democrat. Pro-oil, anti-local control, anti-worker, anti-immigrant, anti-choice, and pro-gun can be described as Muñoz’s positions. Muñoz votes with Republicans 90% of the time. If you look at Muñoz’s voting record in 2021/2019 and look at Ryan Guillen’s voting record from the same period, you will likely be unable to tell them apart.
Representative Shawn Thierry.
Unlike the other Democrats on this list, Thierry doesn’t have a history of being pro-oil or anti-immigrant. However, last year, she crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans on harmful legislation. Thierry voted on SB-14, which banned gender-affirming care for LGBTQ youth. This bill was based on hatred, not scientific fact, nor despite the pleas from the desperate families. The ACLU successfully blocked this bill temporarily, only for it to be reversed by the all-Republican Supreme Court.
When voting for this bill, Thierry gave an anti-LGBTQ speech on the House floor, surrounded by Republicans. After that, she appeared on several Conservative media talk shows, including Fox News. Since then, she’s been racking in GOP donations, including $20,000 from school voucher advocates.
Thierry also voted in favor of the Book Burning Bill, based on one graphic novel a Republican activist sent her.
Thierry received a massive blowback from the Democratic base because of these two bills. She has two primary challengers and a lot of money being pumped in the races against her. I don’t think Thierry will win reelection, but if she does, it shouldn’t surprise anyone when she flips parties right before the 2025 legislative session.
Who I didn’t mention and why?
Some people have been angry with Representative Richard Raymond and Representative Eddie Morales. Even though these are two of the most Conservative Democrats in the Texas House, I don’t believe either one will switch parties. First of all, Raymond loves being a Democrat. He’s proud of it. I’ve heard him say in committees, “I’m a proud Democrat,” or he’ll tell people how great the Democratic Party is because “we’re a big tent party.” Raymond is very old school and doesn’t realize that the younger generations are much more progressive.
Morales is similar in he touts that he’s a “moderate Democrat.” Although, I’d probably call him Conservative. Morales wants to be neutral and be the cool guy with everybody. His heart is in the right place, and he still believes in some key democratic priorities, like public education.
What’s the takeaway?
Sometimes, primary elections are just as important as general elections (not always). Texas Democrats have been betrayed all too often. It’s really up to us to decide whether or not we continue to put up with it.
Vote often and hold our elected officials accountable.
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