Battleground 2020Elections 2020State HouseThe Back MicThe Back Mic: Planned Parenthood Endorses a Republican, GOP PAC Pledges Fundraising, Latest Campaign Ads

This week — a pro-choice group endorses Republican Sarah Davis, a GOP PAC prepares to defend the Texas House, and new ads hit the airwaves.
September 4, 2020
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Planned Parenthood Issues Endorsements, Including One Republican

As the battle for the Texas House continues to heat up, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) announced its slate of state legislative endorsements this week. 

Notably, the group opted to endorse pro-choice Republican state Rep. Sarah Davis (R-West University Place), despite the competitive nature of her district, pressure from activists, and a challenge from a viable Democrat in Ann Johnson. 

Davis is consistently ranked as the most liberal Republican in the Texas House by Mark Jones, a fellow in political science at Rice University’s Baker Institute who ranks legislators according to their political philosophies based on the votes they take during each legislative session. 

She won reelection in the 2018 general with 53 percent of the vote, and has received support from PPTV previously.

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Other incumbents, all Democrats, who received a nod from the pro-choice group include:

  • Erin Zwiener (Driftwood)
  • Vikki Goodwin (Austin)
  • Donna Howard (Austin)
  • James Talarico (Round Rock)
  • Michelle Beckley (Carrollton)
  • Ana-Maria Ramos (Richardson)
  • Terry Meza (Irving)
  • Rhetta Bowers (Garland)
  • Julie Johnson (Carrollton) 
  • Gina Calanni (Katy)
  • Jon Rosenthal (Houston)
  • John Bucy (Austin)

GOP PAC Aims to Hold onto Texas House with Substantial Investment

After launching last November, the Leading Texas Forward PAC announced an initial investment of $670,000 this week. The group has “pledged its strong financial support to protect the Texas Republican majority in the House of Representatives.”

The PAC boasts veteran political operative Karl Rove as its treasurer and a board of 16 Republican state representatives:

  • Trent Ashby (Lufkin)
  • Drew Darby (San Angelo)
  • John Frullo (Lubbock)
  • Gary Gates (Richmond)
  • Charlie Geren (Fort Worth)
  • Justin Holland (Rockwall)
  • Kyle Kacal (College Station)
  • Ken King (Canadian)
  • Phil King (Weatherford)
  • John Kuempel (Seguin)
  • Lyle Larson (San Antonio)
  • Chris Paddie (Marshall)
  • Tan Parker (Flower Mound)
  • Four Price (Amarillo)
  • Hugh Shine (Temple)
  • Gary VanDeaver (New Boston)

The Texas House is currently comprised of 67 Democrats and 83 Republicans after Democrats gained 12 seats in the 2018 general election.

New TV Ads Released

On the state level, Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington) released an ad focusing on public education successes achieved last legislative session.

Federally, Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07) addresses access to healthcare, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, in her latest ad.

“From slavery to West Point in just 5 generations, that’s our story. But it’s also America’s story,” said Wesley Hunt, Fletcher’s Republican opponent, in a TV ad released last week. 

Wendy Davis, running against Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21), revisited priority items like rape kit backlog from her time in the Texas Senate in her latest television spot. 

Centered on the latest cuts to the Austin Police Department budget, Rep. Roger Williams’ (R-TX-25) ad features a young mother voicing public safety concerns. Williams is facing a challenge from Democrat Julie Oliver.

In his latest ad, Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX-32) lists measures he’s supported in his first term, including opening a new VA hospital and COVID-19 relief packages. He will face off against Republican Genevieve Collins in November.

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McKenzie Taylor

McKenzie Taylor

McKenzie Taylor 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.