Battleground 2020Elections 2020State HouseState SenateThe Back MicThe Back Mic: Gun Control Group Targets Texas House, Straus Advocates Expanded Mail-in Ballot Use, More Campaign Spots Released

This week — a gun control group launches new ads for Texas House candidates, a former Texas speaker weighs in on mail-in ballots, and this week’s campaign spots are compiled.
September 18, 2020

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Gun Control Group Launches Texas House Ad Campaigns

The Brady PAC, a gun-control advocacy group, is partnering with One Vote at a Time TX, a group of female filmmakers who provide in-kind filmmaking to “gun sense candidates.” 

According to a press release, the pairing will now result in six advertisements for each of their selected Texas House candidates created “for expanded use on social media, digital platforms, and TV.”

Altogether, 21 Democratic candidates or officeholders were selected as beneficiaries.


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“We are just nine seats away from flipping Texas to a gun violence prevention majority and we know that the stakes couldn’t be higher,” said Brian Lemek, Brady PAC executive director. “Our slate of endorsed state house candidates in Texas is one of the most diverse and impressive in the country, which is why we are so excited to help them tell their stories and support for common sense gun policies through these ads.”

Republican Speaker Voices Support for Expanded Mail-In Balloting

Former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) penned an op-ed this week vouching for the legitimacy of “extending mail-in ballots to all,” particularly due to coronavirus concerns.

In the piece, published in the Dallas Morning News, Straus stated that “some Texas officials are going out of their way to discourage voting by mail…it’s disappointing that Republican leaders in Texas are not taking the increased demand for voting by mail more seriously.” 

“After the chief elections officer in Harris County announced plans to send applications for mail-in ballots to registered voters, the Texas attorney general sued to stop him, adding to public confusion about the legality of voting by mail,” the former speaker wrote, alluding to Attorney General Ken Paxton going to bat against interim Clerk Chris Hollins.

Straus announced his retirement in 2017, after serving five terms as speaker and a tumultuous legislative session that found him at odds with grassroots conservatives and the state’s two other prominent leaders — Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Governor Greg Abbott. 

New Campaign Ads

As November inches closer, candidates continue to ramp up their fundraising efforts, partially in order to ensure their campaign ads are included in the myriad of spots hitting the airwaves. Here’s a look at those released this week.

Facing a challenge from Democrat Lorenzo Sanchez in House District 67, State Rep. Jeff Leach’s (R-Plano) spot focuses on the state income tax ban, human trafficking crackdowns, and public education funding.

Democratic candidate for House District 92, Jeff Whitfield, launched his first ad of the election cycle. Whitfield will face off against Republican Jeff Cason in the fight for retiring Rep. Jonathan Stickland’s (R-Bedford) seat.

After both Dallas salon owner, Shelley Luther, and state Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) released ads of their own, Chris Watts, another GOP candidate vying for Texas’ Senate District 30, talks guns and police funding in a newly released spot.

A new ad from Rep. Lizzie Fletcher’s (D-TX-7) campaign focuses on protections for the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” and coverage for preexisting conditions, inferring that both would suffer if GOP challenger Wesley Hunt is elected.

Congressman Michael McCaul’s (R-TX-10) latest ad features Waller County Constable Joe Trimm, who states that McCaul’s Democratic opponent, Mike Siegel, “wants to defund the police and abolish prisons.”

Democrat Wendy Davis’ latest ad features a woman recounting her experience having contracted COVID-19 and attacks incumbent Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) for perspectives he’s shared on social media. 

An ad critical of Republican congressional candidate Beth Van Duyne’s tenure as mayor of Irving was released by the House Majority PAC this week. Van Duyne is competing against Democrat Candace Valenzuela for Congressional District 24’s open seat.

Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX-32) touts the addition of a new VA hospital in Garland, and features testimonies from local veterans.

Allred’s Republican challenger, Genevieve Collins, spotlights her grandmother who was the first woman elected to the Dallas City Council.


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McKenzie DiLullo

McKenzie DiLullo serves as Senior Editor and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.