Will Corrupt Republican Senators Finally Face The Retribution Of Voters?
The battle for accountability.
One of the most impressive feats Texas Democrats could pull off this month was to get a Democratic challenger for every Republican Senator on the ballot. Now, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of reasons why these Republicans should be voted out, but the most crucial reason among them is the fraudulent acquittal of Ken Paxton.
Not to re-hash the details of Paxton’s acquittal by the illicit influence of the West Texas billionaires, but here are a few refreshers:
“The Greatest Sideshow on Earth: Behind the Scenes of Ken Paxton’s Acquittal,” by Texas Monthly.
“Dan Patrick: Judge, Jury, Executioner,” by Texas Observer.
Sixteen Republican Senators voted to acquit one of the most corrupt politicians Texas has ever seen because Tim Dunn and the rabid right saw him as an effective culture warrior.
All Democrats, Independents, and many moderate Republicans saw Paxton’s acquittal as wrong and corrupt. Too many of us have had it with the corruption at the highest levels of government.
Five of the crooked sixteen who acquitted Paxton are up for re-election, plus Paxton’s wife, Angela.
Paul Bettencourt - SD07.
Bettencourt, who is deeply entrenched with the Heritage Foundation and ALEC, hasn’t had a Democratic challenger since 2018. The GOP also heavily gerrymandered this district in 2021.
But this is a Harris County district, and Anglos are a minority in this district:
And we know that the less Anglo a district is, the more bluer it is.
There are two Democrats on the ballot, Nasir Malik and Michelle Gwinn.
In 2020, a presidential election year like 2024, Senate District 07 saw a 72% turnout. The Texas Politics Poll lists SD07 as a +16 Trump District. However, there are some factors at play that we can’t include.
According to Axios, 45% of Republicans said they would not vote for Trump if he were convicted of a felony by a jury, while 35% said they would. 52% said they wouldn’t vote for him if he were in prison at the time of the election, while 28% said they would.
Democrats have been overperforming by an average of 11 points in every special election in 2023.
These same factors will apply to all of the races. We should expect to see Democrats overperform in Texas in 2024, but how much depends on what’s happening with Trump’s legal issues in November.
Angela Paxton - SD08.
Although Paxton didn’t get the opportunity to vote for her husband’s acquittal, much to her chagrin, she’s just as dishonest and unethical as the rest of them. She’s the Bonny to his Clyde.
Her Democratic candidate is Rachel Mello.
Collin County’s voter turnout 2022 was only 52%, and Paxton won against her Democratic opponent by 17 points. However, the Democrat in this race didn’t have much money and didn’t put himself out there as much as he could have.
While this district has a higher Anglo population, I think if Mello were able to drive home how corrupt Angela Paxton was, it would win her both Democratic and centrists votes. The only ones who have given the Paxtons a stamp of approval for their unscrupulous behavior are the far-right fringes. How deeply is the far right entrenched in Collin County? This race will tell us a lot.
Phil King - SD10.
It was tragic what the Republicans did to SD10—gerrymandered it so severely that the Black and brown communities in southern Tarrant County no longer had political power. There were lawsuits. The lawsuits were dismissed by our Republican Supreme Court.
Just look how they cracked Tarrant County:
This district’s population is 49% Anglo, but the voting population is 52% Anglo. They did this because they couldn’t split up the district any further, or they would make it blue. I’ve said it before: there isn’t any more pie to be split up.
The Democrat running against King is Andy Morris.
Morris is a fantastic candidate. He’s an immigration lawyer and served on the city council in Aledo. This gives Morris a leg up in Parker County, with this district’s 25% Hispanic makeup.
I would suggest that Morris get with the Tarrant County Democratic Party as soon as possible and start holding events in Tarrant County, where the majority of his votes will come from.
Tan Parker - SD12.
Parker, a Philadelphia native, has been widely unpopular with many in the counties his district is in. Another wildly drawn district, SD12, covers Dallas, Denton, Tarrant, and Wise Counties.
Yeah, it’s weird. Parker is only one of three state legislative Republicans still in Dallas County, and the other two are expected to be voted out in November. People talk about Travis and Harris County being blue but forget Dallas is also a deep blue county (Eric Johnson, excluded.)
Stephanie Draper is the Democrat in this race.
In 2022, Francine Ly got within five points of Tan Parker.
In 2022, Democrats underperformed in Texas by five or six points.
I feel the most confident about this seat flipping. Not to say the others won’t, but a ten-point win by Draper wouldn’t surprise me. She’ll have to work hard for it, though.
Joan Huffman - SD17.
Huffman has been among the most destructive Senators in the last few years as the architect of the 2021 gerrymandered maps.
This district covers multiple diverse counties:
Brazoria County is doing a lot of big things. I plan on covering more of that soon, but I expect a big Democratic turnout in Brazoria County in 2024. The votes are there in SD17, but there needs to be a big push for voter turnout. In 2022, the turnout in SD17 was only 40%, and the Democratic candidate there lost by 30 points.
Even though Democrats could overperform in this district, they’ll only see the fruits of it if the turnout is closer to 70%.
The Democrat running in this district is Kathy Cheng. She doesn’t have a website yet, but she ran for the Texas Supreme Court a few years ago and is a strong candidate. This is one race we’ll be watching.
Donna Campbell - SD25.
This district includes three blue counties (Bexar, Hays, and Travis) and several red areas. It’s not the most ridiculously drawn map, but it’s up there.
During the 2022 election, SD25 saw a 55% turnout, and Campbell won against her Democratic opponent by 25 points. This shouldn’t be discouraging because the Democrat in 2022 didn’t raise much money or have a massive presence in the district. With a high turnout, 70% or more, who knows what will happen.
The Democrat running against Campbell is Merrie Fox.
The county parties in this district, especially Bexar, should aggressively approach GOTV in SD17.
Democrats need to message on these Senators’ involvement in Ken Paxton’s acquittal.
These corrupt five Senators’ involvement in Ken Paxton’s acquittal as a central issue is a potentially winning strategy for several reasons. First, it taps into a broader public frustration with corruption and unethical political behavior. By highlighting the Senators’ role in the fraudulent acquittal, candidates can galvanize voters eager for accountability and integrity in their representatives.
This approach doesn’t just appeal to the Democratic base but also to Independents and moderate Republicans disillusioned with their party’s direction, providing a broader appeal across the electorate.
Focusing on this issue helps personalize and localize the broader national discourse on corruption and the rule of law, making it more relatable and urgent for voters in these districts. It isn’t just about abstract principles; it’s about how their own Senator acted in a matter of significant ethical concern.
By emphasizing the Senators’ involvement in Paxton’s acquittal, Democratic challengers can position themselves as the ethical alternative, promising a commitment to transparency, accountability, and the rule of law, contrasting sharply with the incumbents’ actions. This narrative motivates the base and can sway undecided voters who prioritize integrity and ethical governance.
What about the other 11 Senators who acquitted Paxton?
Drew Springer in SD30 is retiring. While both Democrats and Republicans are running in SD30, we can rest assured knowing that one of the unethical Senators who voted to acquit is out.
The other ten aren’t up for re-election until 2026. It was just the luck of the draw when Senators pulled straws to be on the ballot this election or next. You better believe, just like we haven’t forgotten about the Republicans in Congress who participated in Trump’s coup, we won’t forget about the GOP members in the Senate who gave Paxton the greenlight to use the Attorney General’s office for corruption.
Can the Senate flip in 2024?
We need to be honest about this. Democrats need to flip five Republican seats to flip the Senate. While I firmly believe that by 2030, we will flip the Senate, I don’t think 2024 will be our year. I would love to be proved wrong, but to flip five of the six Republican seats up for grabs would be a Texas miracle.
Of course, by then, Trump could be in jail, our grid could have failed, and the Supreme Court could have banned birth control. So, let’s stay optimistic and remember to talk to your friends and family about the importance of voting in state elections. Stay tuned.
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