IssuesThe Back MicThe Back Mic: Jason Isaac Campaign Fund Woes, Candidate’s Father Violates Judicial Code, Beto O’Rourke Aims at GOP Texas House

This week in The Back Mic — a look at former Rep. Jason Isaac's apartment funding, the father of a candidate breaking code, and Beto O'Rourke helps state Democrats.
December 6, 2019

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“The Back Mic” is a weekly look inside Texas politics and policy presented by The Texan. In just a few bullet points every Friday, you’ll know about the critical developments from the candidates, elected officials, and policies that impact Texans everywhere.

Jason Isaac Rented Austin Apartment with Campaign Funds After Congressional Loss

Former State Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) rented an “officeholder” apartment with campaign funds after he lost his congressional bid, the Hays Free Press reported this week. Here’s what’s known so far:

  • Isaac said he rented the apartment as he was closing his capitol office.
  • The Isaacs’ home in Dripping Springs sold in November 2018. Isaac may not have lived in House District 45 during his final days as a state representative.
  • More than $21,000 in campaign funds were spent on fees and rent associated with the space.
  • According to Isaac, his wife and House District 45 candidate, Carrie Isaac, and kids never lived there.
  • The property was situated only halfway between Dripping Springs and the capitol, and was located next to his kids’ school.
  • It was rented soon after Isaac accepted an Austin-based job with Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute.

Isaac served four terms in the Texas House before running for Congressional District 21 in 2018. He now works at an Austin-based policy think tank.

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SD 19 Candidate’s Father Violates Judicial Code of Conduct

KSAT reported this week that Bexar County Justice of the Peace Ciro Rodriguez was caught on video campaigning for his daughter, Xochil Pena Rodriguez, who is running in the Democrat primary for Senate District 19.

  • Judge Rodriguez is seen speaking in front of a Tejano Democrats group, describing the race as “a district that we can win, a district that we shouldn’t have lost, but we’re gonna take it.”
  • He continues, stating, “We’ll be running throughout the 17 counties.”
  • Video footage and photos also show the judge passing out his daughter’s literature at multiple campaign events.
  • Texas Judicial Code stipulates that “A judge or judicial candidate shall not authorize the public use of his or her name endorsing another candidate for any public office, except that either may indicate support for a political party.”
  • In a tweet, Xochil Pena Rodriguez addressed the controversy: “I’m blessed to have supportive parents. I’m proud & inspired by my dad, Congressman Ciro Rodriguez & his record of public service & solving problems. As I’ve traveled around SD19 I’ve seen the positive impact he had. Like many dads, he is proud of his daughter.”

Rodriguez is one of four Democrats who’ve entered the race to attempt to unseat incumbent State Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) and take back SD 19.

Beto O’Rourke Wades into Texas House Races

Former congressman and presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke, has shown support for Democratic candidates taking aim at the Republican majority in the state legislature.

  • Lorraine Birabil, a candidate for House District 100, received O’Rourke’s endorsement this week. Birabil is set to face off against fellow Democrat James Armstrong III in a runoff election to replace Mayor Eric Johnson.
  • O’Rourke tweeted out a link to donate to “FLIP the Texas House” initiative, saying, “Last year 17 TX State House Republicans won their election by less than 10 points. We can flip these seats by reaching un-registered Democrats.”
  • The former congressman was scheduled to join a House District 67 candidate forum via video call on Thursday night.


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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.