“It is critical that we have principled conservatives in the Texas Senate, which is why I am proud to endorse Drew Springer for State Senator in District 30,” said Governor Abbott in his endorsement video.
“Drew Springer is a proven leader who fought to secure historic property tax reform for Texas homeowners and businesses, and he is the only candidate in this race who is endorsed by the NRA. As a member of the Senate, Drew will work on behalf of North Texans to grow the economy, secure our border, and defend our Texas values,” claimed the governor.
There is no love lost over the endorsement between Abbott and Luther, who has been a vocal critic against the governor since rising to prominence after defying his coronavirus lockdown orders to reopen her business.
Even before Abbott’s formal endorsement on Tuesday, Luther campaigned under the presumption that the governor was “working hard” for Springer.
But before the six-person open race on September 30, Abbott had still not formally endorsed or supported Springer.
And none of Springer’s recent campaign finance reports — including those filed before the SD 30 election and before the general election for his state House seat — list any contributions from Abbott’s massive campaign war chest.
With his announcement now, though, there is a strong possibility that some contributions from Abbott will appear on Springer’s next filing due December 11.
However, even presuming Abbott’s financial support for Springer, which candidate will have the cash advantage may still be up in the air since Luther has received support from several conservative megadonors including a $1 million dollar loan from CrownQuest CEO Tim Dunn.
Prior to the September election, Luther led Springer with over twice as much cash-on-hand, though excluding Dunn’s loan, Springer received over twice as much in contributions.
The race in the North Texas Senate seat is reminiscent of the heated Republican runoff election earlier this year in House District 60 between Glenn Rogers and Jon Francis.
Ultimately, Rogers — backed by last-minute support from Abbott — pulled narrowly ahead of Francis, who had been critical of Abbott’s lockdown orders and was backed by conservative megadonors.
Of course, there are notable differences between the Republican primary in HD 60 and the special runoff election in SD 30, and political circumstances have changed significantly over the past five months.
Aside from Abbott, Springer also has endorsements from outgoing Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper) and a plethora of other Republican lawmakers ranging from Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury) to Rogers, Lang’s successor.
Luther’s list of endorsements from established lawmakers is much shorter, but still includes the likes of Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) and Collin County Judge Chris Hill.
Most recently, a former Republican candidate in the SD 30 special election, Andy Hopper, announced his support for Luther.
Hopper said that he was hesitant to support Luther because of her lack of an established conservative record in politics, but ultimately strayed away from supporting Springer after seeing him tout two conflicting views to different crowds along the campaign trail and lend his support to Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) in his bid for Texas House speaker.
“I believe Shelley has solid core principles and is connected to solid conservatives such as Jonathan Stickland and Bob Hall. She likely doesn’t have John Locke and Montesquieu her nightstand (yet), but she has something perhaps more relevant and important: she has a deep disdain for the establishment and the club established among faux conservatives in the legislature,” said Hopper.
At the end of the September 30 election, Luther and Springer received nearly the same number of votes, each tallying to 32 percent. Luther came out on top with 22,242 votes and Springer trailed behind at 22,127.
The lone Democrat in the open race, Jacob Minter, followed in third with 21 percent of the vote, and the other three Republicans each received less than 10 percent.
Early voting for the runoff between Luther and Springer begins on Wednesday, December 9, while the election is scheduled for Saturday, December 19.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.