87th LegislatureElections 2022State HouseGovernor Candidates Weigh in on Texas Democrats’ Quorum-Breaking Flight

Governor Greg Abbott's primary opponents knocked him for the current legislative stalemate after House Democrats fled to D.C. to break quorum.
July 14, 2021
Texas Governor Greg Abbott came out with a forceful rebuke of House Democrats’ privately chartered flight to Washington, D.C. that brought the special session’s legislative process to a screeching halt.

“As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state,” Abbott said, pointing to issues like property tax relief and crime prevention measures.

He also called the move “the most un-Texan thing [I’ve] ever heard — running from a fight.”

The governor then stated he’ll call continuous special sessions all the way through the 2022 midterms if necessary to pass those priority items. He also backed the idea of stripping all truant Democrats of their leadership roles, such as committee chairmanships — something House leadership must do and behind which the governor can only put his political force.

This is the first time Abbott has taken that position.

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Meanwhile, Abbott’s gubernatorial primary opponents took advantage of the quorum break to hit the incumbent.

“As Democrats flee Texas today, we witness another failure by Greg Abbott. He refused to prioritize conservative issues during the regular session because we weren’t threatening him yet,” former state Sen. Don Huffines said in a press release.

“Now he’s empowered the Democrats to do everything they’re doing. When I’m governor, conservative priorities will be handled during the regular session and I won’t let Democrats stop it.”

Another of Abbott’s primary opponents, former Texas GOP Chair Allen West, criticized not only the governor but also House leadership.

“These theatrics show an abject disrespect of the [Texas] Democrats towards Governor Abbott and Speaker Phelan who I admonished not to put Democrats in Chair positions,” he said.

Critiquing the Democrats’ narrative on the election reform legislation prioritized by Abbott, West added, “Election integrity has nothing to do with denying voting, it is to ensure that only alive citizens votes count. It is no coincidence that Democrats are implementing an open borders policy in [Texas], while standing against election integrity.”

“Once Governor I will not allow these sophomoric antics to occur.”

Abbott also rebuked the Democrats’ claims of “voter suppression” telling Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, “The thesis they are operating under is completely false because the Texas law doesn’t hinder anyone’s ability to vote. In fact, Texas is seeking to add additional hours to vote.”

The third of the bigger-name primary challengers, BlazeTV host Chad Prather, hit Abbott, saying, “When Governor Abbott refuses to meet the basic expectations of cultural and religious conservatives, yet he accommodates Silicon Valley giants whose bizarre culture contradicts Texan values, he spits in the eyes of the Texans that make Texas, Texas.”

And further touching on the border security issue, Prather rejoined, “Abbott is threatening to arrest the Democrats returning to Texas. Let’s hope he does a better job arresting Democrats than illegal aliens.”

Abbott is currently facing the first crop of legitimate primary opponents of his long career in public office. The incumbent raked in a massive and record-breaking $18.7 million haul during a 10-day period after the legislative session fundraising moratorium concluded. Abbott also benefits from the most sought after endorsement in the current GOP: former President Donald Trump.

But Huffines announced his own formidable $9.1 million haul and the other two challengers have developed substantial followings in careers outside of Texas public office.

Prather’s filing showed nearly $50,000 raised and West has not disclosed any fundraising details and doesn’t intend to until the next filing deadline in January next year.

Already, border security and illegal immigration has secured the top spot among the race’s priority issues. But now with a veritable stalemate between state Republicans’ majority and Democrats’ strategic flight out of state, more kindling is added to the 2022 gubernatorial race’s fire.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.