The Back MicThe Back Mic: Patrick Continues Feud with House, Abbott, Cruz Behind DeSantis in 2024 Texas Poll, Texas GOP Officials Back Flores

This week — Dan Patrick knocks the Texas House, a poll shows an early picture of Texas' 2024 GOP presidential primary, and Texas GOP leadership endorses in a special election.
April 8, 2022

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Patrick Jabs at House Leadership

The Texas House and Senate have an on-again, off-again feud over their priority legislation perishing in the opposite chamber. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick continued that war of words with the Texas House this week on Dallas radio host Mark Davis’ program.

He criticized the House for killing various pieces of his preferred legislation.

“I’m not blaming them but if you’re going to kill a bill in the Texas House, stand up and take credit for it,” he said, laying the responsibility for the expiration of a bill banning child gender transition procedures at the House’s doorstep.

House Bill (HB) 1399 was referred to the Public Health Committee in March 2021 and passed to the House floor about a month and a half later. But when the May 13 deadline to pass bills on second reading — an initial hurdle to clear for legislation to be approved — came, HB 1399 could not clear the obstacle.

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Patrick pointed to other bills, such as when the House changed the penalty downgrade for committing election fraud from a felony to a misdemeanor — something that the Senate then approved and the governor signed to get the election omnibus bill passed. The following special session, the Senate passed the restoration of the penalty, which didn’t move in the House.

But the reverse holds true, too.

House priority bills like one expanding the classification of an “insurer” aimed at expanding options for patients and another reining in civil asset forfeiture both perished in the Senate.

The jockeying will likely continue up until and through the 88th legislative session next year.

2024 Presidential Poll Shows Texas Figures Behind Trump, DeSantis

The 2024 GOP primary for president is about 700 days away, but it’s never too early to look ahead. A poll commissioned by the Defend Texas Liberty PAC, run by former state Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) and conducted by a newly-established firm CWS Research LLC, provides a first glimpse.

In the potential 2024 GOP presidential field, the poll shows former President Donald Trump topping the group:

  • Donald Trump – 46%
  • Ron DeSantis – 20%
  • Nikki Haley – 10%
  • Ted Cruz – 8%
  • Greg Abbott – 6%
  • Kristi Noem – 2%
  • Undecided – 8%

When Trump is removed from the equation, it shows:

  • DeSantis – 48%
  • Cruz – 19%
  • Haley – 13%
  • Abbott – 10%
  • Noem – 3%
  • Undecided – 7%

Not only does DeSantis, Florida’s governor, lead the sans-Trump field, but he exceeds Trump’s share by 2 percent. Both Texans, Abbott and Cruz, gain ground without Trump in the race, but Abbott’s gain is marginal and Cruz’s is more than doubled by the Florida governor.

The poll also surveyed the three statewide GOP races in runoffs. It found:

  • Attorney General – Ken Paxton at 59% versus George P. Bush with 30%
  • Land Commissioner – Dawn Buckingham at 42% versus Tim Westley with 18%
  • Railroad Commissioner – Wayne Christian at 50% versus Sarah Stogner with 24%

Another poll released this week by the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation showed an even wider lead for Paxton, putting the incumbent at 65 percent and Bush at 23 percent.

Texas GOP Chair and Vice-Chair Endorse in TX-34 Special Election

Mayra Flores, a Republican candidate for Texas’ 34th Congressional District, received a joint endorsement from the Texas GOP’s top two officials this week. Chair Matt Rinaldi and Vice Chair Cat Parks announced their support of Flores in an official party letter.

“As we increasingly see the Rio Grande Valley swing to Republicans, Mayra is the kind of bold conservative leader we need to take back Congress from the radical left,” said Rinaldi.

Parks added, “The GOP saw incredible enthusiasm in South Texas during the primary election and we will continue to build on that momentum in this special election for TX-34. I am proud to offer my endorsement to Mayra Flores, who will help us flip South Texas red and ensure Texas remains a model state for conservative principles.”

The party and its officials have a stated policy of staying out of primary elections, but this is at least nominally different as it’s a specially called election.

The seat is vacant earlier than expected because Congressman Filemon Vela (D-TX-34) decided to resign early from his position, for which he had already decided not to seek re-election.

Using the ongoing coronavirus disaster declaration, Governor Greg Abbott ordered an emergency special election for June 14. Candidates planning to enter the race must file by April 13.

One other Republican is currently running in this special election, the third-place primary finisher Gregory Kunkle. Democrat Dan Sanchez, a former Cameron County Commissioner, is also running and has the support of Vela and Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15).

Flores is running in the regular election for the 34th Congress and won the primary outright on March 1.

The district’s current makeup is D-63% per The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index which shows the partisan breakdown of the district’s voting population. Redistricting made it a closer D-56% rating.

In the general election, Flores will face Gonzalez, who is switching districts.


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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.