The Back MicThe Back Mic: Trump to Host Paxton Fundraiser, Retiring House Chairman Resigns Seat Early, Phelan Jumps into Central Texas House Race

This week — Donald Trump will host a fundraiser next month for a Texas official, retiring state Rep. James White resigns his position early, and Speaker Dade Phelan matches a large donation to a GOP candidate.
August 19, 2022

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Trump to Host New Jersey Fundraiser for Ken Paxton

Former President Donald Trump will host a fundraiser next month for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, according to a report by the Washington Examiner.

The event will be held on September 1 at Trump’s Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey, with ticket prices ranging from $1,000 to $50,000.

“General Paxton is honored that President Trump is enthusiastically endorsing and supporting his campaign for re-election by hosting a fundraiser at his Bedminster home on September 1st,” Paxton’s campaign said in a statement to The Texan.

“President Trump knows a true fighter when he sees one. General Paxton is greatly appreciative of President Trump’s support as he stands on the front lines battling for Texans’ liberty and winning.”

The Texan Tumbler

Paxton has long been an ardent devotee of Trump, receiving the former president’s endorsement in his crowded and formidable primary challenge headlined by Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. Paxton won the runoff handily versus Bush in May and now faces Democrat Rochelle Garza in the November general.

Polling has shown a tight race for Paxton, especially relative to other statewide Republicans. The latest has him up 2 points on Garza.

Paxton lobbied hard for Trump’s endorsement in his primary and based his case substantially on Texas’ 2020 lawsuit challenging the presidential election results in four other states. It alleged constitutional violations by those states due to their respective governors changing election law by executive order and without input from the legislature — something Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also did, who wasn’t named in the suit which was ultimately rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Retiring Chairman White Resigns House Seat Early

State Rep. James White (R-Hillister), who was not seeking re-election this year, resigned his post this week early as he moves into a new position as executive director of the Texas Funeral Service Commission.

White is already up on the commission’s website.

During the last legislative session, White served as chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. In that capacity, he was one of the chief movers of the GOP legislature’s landmark constitutional carry legislation.

After announcing he would not seek re-election, White launched an ultimately unsuccessful primary challenge to Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

He joined the Texas Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative House members, for the three special legislative sessions last year.

White’s House District 19 was one of two moved to a different part of the state during redistricting, with the East Texas communities he represented cannibalized by his surrounding districts.

Speaker Phelan and Texans for Lawsuit Reform Make Matching Donations

Republican candidate for House District 52 Caroline Harris received a fundraising boon this week from Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) and Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR).

Phelan matched TLR’s $25,000 donation to Harris, providing a $50,000 windfall for the GOP candidate.

“Caroline Harris has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to fighting for conservative values, dedicating almost a decade to public service yielding results for Texans,” said the speaker in a release. “Caroline has deep roots in her community and is in tune with the needs of House District 52 which will make her an effective member of the Texas House.”

“A lifelong Round Rock resident and former Capitol staffer with in-depth experience of the legislative process, Caroline Harris will serve the residents of HD 52 well as they work to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future,” TLRPAC Chairman Richard J. Trabulsi Jr. said. “Caroline understands the need to focus on strengthening the economic foundation that has made Texas the best place to raise a family and work, including keeping our legal system fair and efficient.”

Harris edged out Patrick McGuinness in the hard-fought primary runoff for HD 52. She now faces Democrat Luis Echegaray in the general election.

The district’s makeup is slightly in Harris’ favor, rated R-55% by The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index — an analysis of districts’ partisan leaning.


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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.