The Back MicThe Back Mic: Governor’s Race Spotlights Power Grid, Cruz’s Texas Endorsements Listed, New Campaign Ads Aired

This week — Gov. Greg Abbott takes shots from his opponents over the power grid, Cruz endorses 10 Texas candidates, and new campaign ads are released.
February 4, 2022

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Gubernatorial Challengers Talk Power Grid

This week, an arctic front is bringing cold temperatures and some precipitation with it. It has sparked a fuss by state officials trying to temper concerns about the power grid’s resiliency. While Governor Greg Abbott and state agencies tried to calm worries, his opponents criticized him for previously made guarantees and contradictory statements made since.

This week, Democrat Beto O’Rourke announced his “Keeping the Lights On” tour across the state aimed at the power grid reforms the legislature passed and Abbott signed into law. “I will keep the lights on in Texas. This guy clearly can’t,” O’Rourke tweeted with a video showing Abbott’s guarantee that the lights will stay on this winter next to his statement this week that “nobody can guarantee that there won’t be a load-shed event.”

Load-shedding is a strategy used by operators to reduce demand on the grid when generation capacity cannot keep up. It is a controlled outage used to reduce stress on the grid and is often rotated to ensure no one place is out of power for an extended period of time. That strategy was implemented last year but it quickly became a prolonged and uncontrolled blackout across the state when regulators couldn’t restore power.

An Abbott spokesperson called O’Rourke’s road trip the “Praying the Lights Go Out” tour, saying, “While Beto is traversing the state rooting for the pain and suffering of fellow Texans, Governor Abbott has been working to strengthen the grid with the PUC, ERCOT, and the Legislature to ensure Texas remains a national leader in energy.”

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One of Abbott’s primary opponents also blasted the governor for this week’s statements. 

“Greg Abbott boldly said he did everything that was needed to keep the lights on this winter. Now he’s saying if they go out it’s not his fault,” former state Sen. Don Huffines said.

Cruz Endorsements Listed

With less than a month until the primary election, top Texas political figures are staking their claims of support for candidates across the state. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who will be up for re-election in 2024, has endorsed 10 candidates so far this cycle. They are:

  • Greg Abbott, governor
  • Dawn Buckingham, candidate for Land Commissioner
  • Christian Collins, candidate for the 8th Congressional District
  • Cassy Garcia, candidate for the 28th Congressional District
  • Phil King, candidate for Senate District (SD) 10
  • Pete Flores, candidate for SD 24
  • Kevin Sparks, candidate for SD 31
  • Ben Bius, candidate for House District (HD) 12
  • Valoree Swanson, incumbent HD 150
  • Tim O’Hare, candidate for Tarrant County judge

Details of note among these endorsements include that Flores’ opponent, Raul Reyes, was endorsed by Cruz during his congressional run in 2020 against now-Congressman Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23); Collins, running against former Navy SEAL Morgan Luttrell, was once a staffer for Cruz; and Bius is a challenger to incumbent state Rep. Kyle Kacal (R-College Station), who has been rated one of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas House.

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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.