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GOP Officials Condemn Anti-Muslim Ad Campaign

Texas Family Project President Also Serves as Parker County GOP Chair

A variety of Republican leaders have denounced a recent ad campaign, including mailers and text messages, which inferred that various Republican lawmakers “want Sharia law in Texas.”

The ad campaign was launched by the Texas Family Project, which has also made false claims that certain Republican legislators had supported child gender transitioning when, in fact, those legislators had voted for legislation to ban gender transitioning and gender modification of children. 

The mailers sent by the Texas Family Project to voters in targeted districts across Texas read, “Do you want your tax dollars going to celebrate Muslim holidays? [Legislator] does” and “We don’t want Sharia law in Texas. Why is [Legislator] voting to celebrate Texas Muslims?”

The mailers then cite votes on three honorary resolutions with no legal effect and a website run by Luke Macias, who now leads the embattled Defend Texas Liberty political action committee.

One of the honorary resolutions cited in the Texas Family Project’s mailer related to the recognition of Ramadan. When that resolution was considered by the Texas House last year, State Representative Tony Tinderholt posted a statement on Twitter announcing that he had voted against the resolution. As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported, Tinderholt later deleted this statement and apologized to the Muslim community. 

In an apology posted on his Twitter account, Tinderholt stated, “I would like to thank Mayor Ross and leaders from the local Muslim community for meeting with me to discuss recent comments I made that were interpreted as offensive to them and their religion. I was able to apologize for the misunderstanding and talk with them. We are all aware of how truly important that freedom of religion is in this amazing country and the great state of Texas. They were generous and kind during our meeting and again, I would like to extend my sincerest apologies to the Muslim community. Thank you for meeting with me!”

Among the Republican leaders denouncing the Texas Family Project’s ad campaign is Bobby Eberle, the Chairman of the Fort Bend County Republican Party. In a statement posted to Twitter, Eberle said, “I strongly condemn the text message campaign recently distributed to voters in Fort Bend County which seeks to disparage our Muslim brothers and sisters who we call our friends and neighbors. Fort Bend County is the most diverse county in the entire state of Texas, and the only way we can move forward in a positive direction is to show warmth and respect for all residents of the county regardless of religious affiliation.”

Eberle added, “The primary election season is always tough, and campaigns can be hard-hitting affairs. Regardless, we must always hold ourselves and our Party to the highest standards, and that includes special interest groups. This group is not affiliated in any way with the Fort Bend County Republican Party and trying to divide people based on religion (or other factors) in an effort to score political points is a tactic that the Democrats use. I stand alongside my Muslim friends and those across Fort Bend County of all faiths.”

Will Franklin, who State Representative Mano DeAyala defeated in the 2022 Republican primary for Texas House District 133, took to Twitter after he received Texas Family Project’s mailer, which targeted his former political opponent. In a lengthy post strongly condemning the mailers attacking DeAyala, Franklin wrote, “Let’s be crystal clear: there’s no agenda for Sharia law in the Texas House. It is normal for the Texas House to acknowledge Texans. No laws were passed, no holidays were established. The Texas House merely acknowledged our Muslim neighbors. Furthermore, there was no allocation of funding in these resolutions—these are resolutions, not bills. The vast majority of Republicans supported these resolutions.”

The Texas Family Project is part of a network of organizations tied to the political consulting firm Pale Horse Strategies and political megadonors Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks. Pale Horse Strategies was recently forced to rebrand to the name “West Fort Worth Management” after revelations that it had hosted notorious Anti-Semitic and white nationalist commentator Nick Fuentes at its office last year

Other groups that are a part of this network, such as Texas Gun Rights and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, have also been criticized for engaging in deceptive ad campaigns targeting Republican lawmakers.

One of the lawmakers targeted by these mailers faces an opponent with close ties to Defend Texas Liberty. 

State Representative Ellen Troxclair faces a primary challenge from former State Representative Kyle Biedermann. According to records on file with the Texas Secretary of State’s office, Biedermann is listed as a member of the board of directors of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (legal name Texas Taxpayer Advocates) and the Strong Borders Foundation. Both of these organizations have received funding from Defend Texas Liberty. Biedermann also recently received a $75,000 campaign contribution from the Texans United for a Conservative Majority PAC, which Dunn and Wilks also fund. 

Troxclair decried the tactics being used against her and other Republican legislators. 

“My opponent simply has nothing to run on or show for his many years in office. Faced with my staunch conservative record, relentless work to secure the border, and endorsements from Governor Abbott to the NRA, he’s decided he’s willing to lie to get elected. His cronies are using the same deceitful tactics to attempt to confuse Republican voters across the state. It’s going to backfire, because Hill Country residents won’t fall for it. Voters want leaders who are principled and honest, not people who will lie and cheat in their desperation for office. I will stay focused on protecting kids, supporting parents, lowering taxes, and closing the border, while he spews hateful nonsense,” said Troxclair. 

In addition to the contribution to Biedermann, Texans United for a Conservative Majority has also made campaign contributions to several other candidates running against incumbent Republican legislators who have been targeted by the Texas Family Project.

Brady Gray, the President of the Texas Family Project, served as Chief Executive Officer of Pale Horse Strategies before transitioning to the Texas Family Project’s payroll. Gray also currently serves as Chairman of the Parker County Republican Party, a position he was elected to last year after the previous County Chairman resigned. 

The Texas Voice has obtained an audio recording of Gray’s speech to the Parker County Republican Party Executive Committee as he sought their vote to fill the County Chair vacancy. 

In his speech, Gray touted his work with Pale Horse Strategies and the candidates and organizations it works with. “The company that I was doing consulting for, we help a lot of groups. We help Sid Miller. We help groups like Texas for Vaccine Choice, Texas Gun Rights, National Association for Gun Rights. A lot of groups that a lot of folks in here probably support.”

Miller has endorsed several Republican primary opponents running against incumbent lawmakers who have been targets of the Texas Family Project, Texas Gun Rights, and other organizations linked to Pale Horse Strategies.  

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