The Back MicThe Back Mic: Texas Leaders Talk Inauguration, State Parties Report Midterm Fundraising, Top Staffers Exit Texas Democratic Party

This week — here’s a look at what’s happening in Texas politics during Presidential Inauguration Week.
January 22, 2021
State Leaders React to Biden Inauguration 

President Joe Biden was sworn in on Wednesday and state leaders responded by offering varying degrees of prayers and warnings. Here are some:

  • Governor Greg Abbott – “I congratulate Joe Biden on his Inauguration as President, and pray that he is guided by God and follows the Constitution as he assumes leadership of the greatest country in the history of the world. May we forever remain that way.”
  • Attorney General Ken Paxton – “Congrats, President Biden. On Inauguration Day, I wish our country the best. I promise my fellow Texans and Americans that I will fight against the many unconstitutional and illegal actions that the new administration will take, challenge federal overreach that infringes on Texans’ rights, and serve as a major check against the administration’s lawlessness. Texas First! Law & Order always!”
  • Speaker Dade Phelan – “May God give wisdom and grace to President [Joe Biden] and [Vice President] Kamala Harris. May God continue to bless the United States of America.”
  • Land Commissioner George P. Bush – “I congratulate President Biden. As he discharges the most important duties of the land, let me be clear: as a part of the loyal opposition, I will fight for Texas values, whether that’s standing up against left-wing plans to curtail the energy industry, raise taxes or put identity politics first.”

President Biden put his pen swiftly to work on his first day in office as he signed a number of executive orders including halting construction of the border wall and revoking the Keystone XL pipeline permit.

Texas’s Top Political Parties Begin 2022 Midterm Cycle Fundraising

At the January 15 semiannual filing deadline, the Texas Republican and Democratic parties provided the first glance at their fiscal houses heading into the 2022 midterm cycle.

The Texan Tumbler

The Republican Party of Texas (RPT) reported just over $71,000 cash-on-hand while the Texas Democratic Party (TDP) reported about $215,000 cash-on-hand.

These are state-only reports, however, and do not include federal dollars.

The RPT and its chairman, Allen West, received intra-party flak since the filing, for the cash-on-hand amount reported. But RPT maintains they have far more funds in-pocket than this state filing indicates.

RPT spokesman Luke Twombly told The Texan, “It is a bad interpretation of the reports. We had a record-breaking fundraising year in 2020 and still have over $2 million in the bank and roughly $1 million of that is in our operating accounts.”

“This whole digital discussion is people looking for trouble and making mountains out of molehills,” he concluded.

The TDP did not return a request for comment by the time of publishing.

Texas Republicans held their line in November despite a massive effort by Democrats to make gains in the Texas House and pick off various down-ballot seats.

Texas Democratic Party’s Top Two Staffers Step Down

The Texas Democratic Party (TDP) has two new openings this week after its Executive Director Manny Garcia and Deputy Executive Director Cliff Walker resigned from their posts.

TDP Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said of their departures, “I want to thank my friends Manny Garcia and Cliff Walker for their hard work and service to our Party. Because of them and so many other Texas Democrats who walked through our halls, the Texas Democratic Party is stronger than ever before.”

Garcia’s continued, “Working and leading at the Texas Democratic Party has been the honor of a lifetime. … Today, because of the hard work of so many volunteers, candidates, and staffers, Texas is the biggest battleground state in the country.”

Walker added, “Texas Democrats are here to stay and the fight for a blue Texas continues. I’m so honored to have fought with my fellow Texas Democrats for so many years and when Texas turns blue, I will be rooting for and supporting the team that gets the job done.”

According to the announcement, both are leaving to pursue “new opportunities in the progressive movement.”

The party appointed Hannah Roe Beck as interim executive director and Luke Warford as the chief strategy officer on Thursday.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include the RPT’s reported total of individual contributions.


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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.