The Back MicThe Back Mic: Paxton Expects Trump Endorsement, Freedom Caucus Requests Special Session Items, Progressive Coalition Created to Oppose Election Reform

This week — Ken Paxton is optimistic about a Trump endorsement, conservative legislators call for special session additions, and a progressive coalition is formed to oppose GOP election reform.
July 2, 2021
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Paxton Optimistic, But Not Bullish on Trump Endorsement 

On Dallas radio host Mark Davis’ show Wednesday morning, Attorney General Ken Paxton said he believes former President Donald Trump’s endorsement is coming for his re-election bid, but at the “right time.”

“I’m not worried about that endorsement. I think it’s going to fall towards me at the right time,” Paxton stated.

“You know [Trump] has a sort of a knack for timing things the right way, so that’s really up to him and it’s going to happen — so it’s just a matter of time.”

Paxton is currently facing two challengers in his second re-election campaign: Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman.

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Both Paxton and Bush are courting Trump’s support, and the former president stated this week while touring the border with Governor Greg Abbott that he’ll make a decision “in the very near future.”

Trump also gave Paxton a rhetorical pat on the back at the border, saying, “He has done a really good job.”

Texas Freedom Caucus Requests Special Session Agenda Items

The Texas Freedom Caucus — a group of conservative legislators in the Texas House — sent a letter this week to Governor Greg Abbott calling for eight legislative items to be placed on the July special session’s agenda in addition to the three the governor has already stated will be included that are election reform, social media censorship, and a more comprehensive ban on critical race theory.

Those eight items largely mirror the group’s legislative priority list released in the early days of the 2021 session. They are:

  • Gender modification of children ban
  • Taxpayer-funded lobbying ban
  • Border security measures
  • School choice legislation
  • Prohibition on biological men competing in women’s sports
  • Historical monument protection
  • Emergency powers reform
  • Property tax relief

Caucus chairman, Rep. Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville), said in the letter, “The 87th Legislative Session was a productive session for Texas. The Legislature passed — and you signed into law — numerous conservative priorities.”

Those legislative achievements Middleton pointed to are constitutional carry, the Heartbeat bill, religious liberty protections, and a restriction on critical race theory — the first three of which were on the caucus’ priorities list.

Abbott already stated that a ban on critical race theory will be among those items for the July 8 special session after he said the version passed by the legislature “didn’t go far enough.”

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide leadership to the rest of this nation and to fight back against the left’s radical agenda,” the letter adds.

“We are confident that if we work together to pass these, and other conservative solutions to the issues our communities are facing, we will ensure the beacon of freedom that is our great State of Texas will shine even brighter for all the world to see and all our neighboring states to emulate.”

Progressive Groups Form Coalition to Oppose Election Reform

A band of progressive activist groups announced this week the formation of their “Texas for All” coalition that will focus on opposing election reform efforts in Texas.

Headlined by the Texas Freedom Network, Workers Defense Action Fund, Texas Organizing Project, Texas Civil Rights Project, and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, the group will “focu[s] on ensuring our elected leaders understand that equality is necessary for opportunity, that dignity is required if we are to prosper, that when they fail to respect Texans, they can expect Texans to hold them accountable.”

The object of its ire — the Texas legislature’s attempts at cracking down on voter fraud by reforming election code — will not only be on the upcoming July special session, but its feature item. Texas Republicans’ first attempt withered away when House Democrats broke quorum by walking out of the chamber.

“With a massive investment and momentum on our side, the Texas for All coalition will hold state leadership accountable and ensure that we’re organizing and combining tactics to have our voices heard at the legislature and all the way to the ballot box,” said Texas Freedom Network Executive Director Val Benavidez in a statement.

The group has also pledged over $2.5 million to “help Texans who suffered loss from the devastating February storms.”

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is 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.