The Back MicThe Back Mic: Patrick Feuds With Former Legislator, Phelan Defended by Local GOP, Texas Senator Takes Aim at Ted Cruz

This week — a longstanding legislative feud from 2021 bubbles up, the Jefferson County GOP chair defends the Republican speaker, and the 2024 U.S. Senate race awaits a Democratic challenger.
January 27, 2023

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Lt. Gov. Patrick Tees Off on Former Chair Paddie

A feud between the lieutenant governor and a former House chairman revived this week when Dan Patrick unceremoniously banned Chris Paddie, now a lobbyist, from his office.

Like [Vistra Corp.], I hope Chris Paddie’s other clients Incode Identity, Jackson Walker, Luminant Power, [the Texas Broadcasters Association, and TXU Energy know he has no credibility [and is] not welcome in my office for his disingenuous [and] unprofessional conduct last session on the grid,” Patrick tweeted Wednesday, naming six of Paddie’s 10 lobby clients.

The pair has grappled multiple times before; the public tiff stems from a private one within the Legislature during the 2021 discussions about responses to the power grid collapse.

It is the most pronounced but far from the only dispute between the pair, focused on “netting” within the securitization legislation — whether subsidiaries counted toward calculating which companies could receive the financial loans.

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When Paddie left office in March 2022, he briefly registered as a lobbyist for Vistra but dropped that when criticized by Patrick who, among others, suggested he was running afoul of a new law setting a timed moratorium for lawmakers who’ve left office.

At the time of Patrick’s last criticism, Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) defended Paddie, saying, “I am grateful for Chairman Paddie’s steady leadership, his character, and his integrity, all of which were integral to the passage of landmark legislation in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri.”

Local GOP Chair Defends Phelan Against State Party

Chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party Joe Evans joined the fracas between the Texas GOP and Republican House members who killed two efforts to ban or restrict the appointment of Democratic chairs.

After the results of the House Rules debate earlier this month, the Texas GOP began running an attack ad against Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) in his own district.

I join the vast majority of my fellow Republicans here in Southeast Texas when I say that I am proud to support Dade Phelan — and even that is an understatement,” Evans wrote in an op-ed published in the Beaumont Enterprise.

With near unanimous support of his GOP colleagues, many of us find it unfortunate that Speaker Phelan, who traveled tens of thousands of miles and spent millions of dollars during the 2022 election cycle seeking to grow the Republican majority in the Texas House, is now the latest target of the Republican Party of Texas. … What a shame.”

Committee request cards have been issued and returned but Phelan hasn’t yet announced his assignments, at which point the issue will likely heat up again.

Texas Sen. Gutierrez Files U.S. Senate Term Limit Bill

In what may be a foreshadowing shot for the U.S. Senate election in 2024, Texas Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) filed legislation to set a two-term limit for service in that federal office.

I agree with the junior U.S. Senator from Texas. We need term limits on U.S. Senators, let’s lead by example here in Texas. Twelve years of service from one Senator is enough,” Gutierrez said in a statement aimed at U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Citizen legislators should serve for a few years and return home. Instead, many officials have created a government run by a small group of special interests and elitist politicians who create brokenness in Washington to govern in a manner that is totally counter to the American people’s wants and needs.”

With Beto O’Rourke having lost a third statewide race in a row last year, there is no clear Democratic challenger for the 2024 U.S. Senate race. That leaves the door open for others to mount a case for the nomination.

Gutierrez has gained a sizable profile in state politics, being outspoken on issues like red flag laws and “raise the age” legislation to purchase firearms after the Uvalde school shooting in his district.


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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.