IssuesState HouseStatewide NewsThe Back MicThe Back Mic: Karl Rove PAC, Abbott Endorsements at Odds with Bonnen Targets and TLR

This week in the Back Mic--Governor Abbott endorses targets on Bonnen's list, a new PAC launched by Karl Rove, and an advocacy group endorses against the Governor’s pick.
November 22, 2019

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An exclusive look inside Texas politics and policy, every Friday.

“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.

This Week’s Campaign News and New Filings

  • Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed Rep. Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton), one of the ten members on Speaker Dennis Bonnen’s (R-Angleton) target list
  • Stephenson received a primary opponent this week in Robert Boettcher, an oil and gas engineer. 
  • Abbott also recently endorsed Reps. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) and Ernest Bailes, another two former targets of the speaker.
  • So far, eight of the ten on Bonnen’s list have received endorsements from the Governor.
  • Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Canton) received a new primary challenger in Edom veterinarian and tea party leader Dwayne “Doc” Collins. 
  • Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) drew a primary opponent in Robert Hoskins, a Baytown City Councilman. 

New Karl Rove PAC Launches to Maintain Texas House GOP Majority

Texas Ethics Commission filings showed that a new political action committee (PAC) was formed this week to support incumbent House Republicans. Here’s the rundown:

The Texan Tumbler

  • According to TEC filings, the “Leading Texas Forward PAC” boasts political veteran Karl Rove as its treasurer.
  • Reps. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio), Four Price (R-Amarillo), and Chris Paddie (Marshall) are listed on the PAC’s paperwork as decision-makers.
  • All five currently serve as committee chairmen, appointed by Speaker Bonnen.
  • According to Geren, the PAC will not serve to challenge sitting incumbents of either party and seeks to raise $5 million.
  • Paperwork was filed on November 1, 2019. 

Texans for Lawsuit Reform and Governor Greg Abbott Endorse Different Candidates

This week, Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR) endorsed former Rep. Mike Schofield (R-Katy), positioning them opposite Governor Abbott in the race for House District 132. 

In August, Abbott endorsed Angelica Garcia, a businesswoman specializing in freight and shipping, prior to Schofield’s entrance into the race.

The advocacy group and the Governor rarely find themselves at odds, particularly during the early stages of a Republican primary. 

Rep. Gina Calanni (D-Katy) narrowly defeated incumbent Schofield in 2018.

Governor Greg Abbott Named Chairman of the Republican Governors Association

Abbott, who previously served as vice-chairman of the group, was elected chairman this week.

“With governor’s races in 11 states in 2020, we are focused on defending our incumbents and competing to flip governorships from blue to red,” said Abbott in a press release

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will now serve as vice-chairman.


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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.