Abbott’s New Hampshire-based consultant Dave Carney pulls back the curtain on the governor’s disdain for all Texas House members
by Scott Braddock on March 4, 2018 at 6:18 PM
Gov. Greg Abbott has now traveled to two Republican Texas House members’ districts to campaign against them, repeatedly call them “liberals,” and make clear that even uttering opposition to a key mechanism for his fundraising will be severely punished.
Even if they win their races on Tuesday, Chairmen Sarah Davis, R-West University Place, and Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, along with Rep. Wayne Faircloth, R-Galveston, are watching the governor do all he can to destroy their legislative careers. Instead of rallying against Faircloth, by the way, Abbott phoned in his appearance at an event for the incumbent’s GOP challenger on Galveston Island.
After this onslaught, it’s not likely that business groups or other members of the Legislature will openly work with them for fear that bills bearing their names will face an almost certain veto out of spite. Being petty and small is always easier than being big, after all.
Bluntness is appropriate here: Gov. Abbott opposes Davis, Faircloth, and Larson after each of them at one time or another questioned whether he should be able to raise so much money from his appointees.
So far, Abbott has raised at least $14 million from contributors to his campaign who he has placed on various boards and commissions. Abbott is, of course, not the first governor to do this. He’s just the best at it. And you might have been thinking there cannot be an ickier way of raising campaign cash than auctioning off deer semen.
Abbott’s campaign sends out no fewer than two fundraising emails per day to supporters pleading for contributions so that he can fight George Soros and the Democrats who want to take over Texas. The proceeds thus far, though, are being deployed to unseat non-compliant Republican members of the Legislature.
In the closing days of the campaign, Abbott’s New Hampshire-based consultant Dave Carney popped his head up on social media to say that all House Republicans were “dems” after the Texas House GOP Caucus distributed messages of support for Representatives Davis, Larson, and Fairlcloth.
“Wow! TX dems endorsing @SarahforHD134 for re-election. Should help in primary….early voting starts Tuesday!” Carney exclaimed. Carney inexplicably then apologized to the Texas House Democratic Caucus, saying he “must have had a brain freeze.”
“Apologies to the TX house Democrats,” Carney said before blocking journalists on Twitter who had reported his comments.
The next day, Chair Davis said Gov. Abbott may be “cresting in an alternate reality, like his consultant who yesterday called the entire Republican Caucus the Democratic Caucus.”
Back in this reality, the Texas Governor’s Mansion is a stepping stone to the White House and $43 million in the bank is an excellent start for a presidential campaign. Who wouldn’t want to silence those who threaten that?
The ill will Abbott and Carney are creating isn’t just emanating from the races where Abbott is vocal. The ones where he is silent are just as potentially damaging to his agenda in 2019.
In the wake of the Florida school shooting and on a national stage with President Donald Trump, Abbott was pleased to take credit for the school marshal program created by legislation passed by Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, who finds himself in a competitive primary.
Gov. Abbott has said nothing and done nothing to help Villalba in his race while endorsing Rep. Jeff Leach, who doesn’t even have a primary opponent. Courageous conservatism, indeed. Perhaps ignoring the only Hispanic GOP member in a competitive race – and going so far as to take credit for his legislation without even mentioning his name – is Abbott’s way of reaching out to Latinos, a topic the governor loves to lecture fellow Republicans about.
The members are watching Abbott, whether he’s involved in their races or not, just as they watched him share the spotlight with no one when he signed a ban on sanctuary cities. The bill fractured the House the night it was passed, creating enemies out of friends on the floor and to top it off, GOP members are getting little to no credit from Republican voters for it now.