87th LegislatureElections 2022FederalImmigration & BorderIssuesState HouseState SenateInterest Group Nixes Endorsements After Texas Candidates Rebuff Support Over Immigration Policy

The candidates sought to position themselves as supporters of border security as they turned down the LIBRE Initiative’s support.
January 25, 2022
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The LIBRE Initiative Action, in conjunction with Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Action, has withdrawn its backing for three Republican state lawmakers running for Texas Senate after the candidates rejected the endorsements, citing the group’s stance on immigration.

Former state Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton), Reps. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), and Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville) put out similar statements on Monday.

Flores and Parker demanded that the LIBRE Initiative refrain from using their names on campaign materials.

“I have a long track record of fighting against any effort to grant amnesty to those who entered America illegally. I oppose any effort to establish programs that create shortcuts or allow certain people to jump to the head of the line,” Flores said.

Flores is seeking the Republican nomination for Senate District 24 and Parker is campaigning for Senate District 12.

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“On Friday, the LIBRE Initiative endorsed a group of candidates for office. To my surprise, I was listed as one of the candidates. Let me be clear – I did not ask for this endorsement. I completely and unequivocally reject the LIBRE Initiative’s endorsement,” Parker said.

“The LIBRE Initiative has made clear where they stand on the issue of amnesty and illegal immigration, and we are not in agreement. I believe in the American Dream, and I fully support anyone who comes to this country legally, to achieve this dream.”

Middleton stated on social media that he did not request the endorsement and rejected it, pointing to the additional border security funding the Texas legislature passed last year.

“While serving as the Texas House Freedom Caucus Chairman, I fought to triple border security and believe we can do more, including finishing President Trump’s wall,” Middleton tweeted.

Flores and Middleton have been endorsed by former President Trump.

In a statement provided to the Texas Tribune, a spokesperson for LIBRE Action and AFP Action said Flores, Parker, and Middleton “accepted a false premise and description of our immigration position.”

The statement asserted that the initiative supports border security, legal immigration, and “streamlining” the U.S. immigration system.

“Also, we believe that doing nothing on Dreamers is accepting the status quo and the very kind of inaction that has impeded progress on this issue for decades. We support creating an earned pathway to legal status for Dreamers who pass a background check, register with the government, and are either employed and/or in school,” the statement read.

The term “dreamers” is often applied to those who were covered under former President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

On Friday, AFP Action and LIBRE Action also announced their joint endorsements of Republicans Adam Blanchard in House District 122, Laura Hill in House District 93, Hayden Padgett in House District 70, and Kronda Thimesch in House District 65. None of these candidates have rejected the endorsements.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan. He has coached high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.