The Back MicThe Back Mic: Musk Applauds Flores Win, Dueling Polls of Governor’s Race, and Speed Bump in Federal Gun Talks

This week — Elon Musk's Republican vote, two polls' different pictures of the gubernatorial race, and Sen. Cornyn's stalling gun reform talks.
June 17, 2022
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Elon Musk Says He Voted for Texas Republican Mayra Flores

The richest man in the world was burning the midnight oil early Wednesday morning when he made Texas political news.

Musk congratulated Mayra Flores, a GOP candidate who won the special election for the 34th Congressional District outright on Tuesday. Flores is only the second Republican to win that South Texas office in the past 40 years. It stretches from just east of San Antonio down to Brownsville, where Musk lives, near the headquarters of his space exploration company SpaceX.

“I voted for Mayra Flores — first time I ever voted Republican. Massive red wave in 2022,” Musk posted in response to a tweet from The Texan. He added that he currently intends to vote for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the 2024 presidential race.

Flores responded, saying, “Welcome to the Republican Party! We welcome all walk-aways from all walks of life. The party of opportunity, prosperity, and freedom is here to stay. We look forward to working together and building a better future for all of America.”

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Abbott Up Big in One Poll, Closer to O’Rourke in Another

This week two polls of the Texas gubernatorial race were released, and they show substantially different positions of incumbent Governor Greg Abbott.

The first poll, by Blueprint Polling, showed Abbott at 55.5 percent and Democrat Beto O’Rourke at 37.2 percent — an 18-point gap.

The poll’s crosstabs show overwhelming support for Abbot in South Texas, putting him at over 80 percent support in that region. 

The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index has the statewide races at an R-54%.

The other poll, by Quinnipiac, showed Abbott up 5 points on O’Rourke. He also leads O’Rourke in support from independent voters by 6 points.

Quinnipiac’s poll consisted of 1,257 registered voters surveyed from June 9 through June 13. with a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

The RealClearPolitics polling average has Abbott up 6.4 percent, which includes the Quinnipiac poll but not the Blueprint one.

Cornyn Says Gun Policy Talks Hit a Speedbump

The gun reform discussions in the U.S. Senate have hit a “bump in the road,” according to Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). On the Senate floor, Cornyn explained the impasse Republican and Democratic negotiators are haggling over.

“We’ve run into a couple of bumps in the road that have slowed things down a little bit,” Cornyn said. “One of them is over crisis intervention programs. I believe we ought to put every state in the position of seeking and receiving funds for crisis intervention programs that they have in place already even if they don’t have a red flag law.”

Cornyn recently announced that a deal between a bipartisan group of legislators had been reached, including appropriations for crisis intervention, mental health services, and state red flag laws.

“With these [proposals] we need to ensure rigorous due process protections,” he added, calling it a “red line” for the Republicans.

While Senate leadership hopes to vote on a bill quickly, delays in agreement on this blueprint will delay how quickly the final product is passed, Cornyn added.

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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.