Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan spent over $2 million to successfully grow the Republican majority in the Texas House during the 2022 general election, according to campaign finance reports recently filed with the Texas Ethics Commission. This amount is in addition to the funds Phelan spent to assist candidates in the 2022 Republican Primary. There are now 86 Republican members of the Texas House, compared to 83 during the last legislative session.
Campaign finance reports filed by the Republican Party of Texas show that it spent just $10,000 on Texas House races- a single contribution made to Texas House candidate John Guerra on the last day of early voting. The Texas GOP also accepted “pass through” contributions from a handful of Texas House candidates, whereby a candidate would make a contribution to the Party and the Party would then use those funds to send direct mail on behalf of that candidate.
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Phelan’s campaign activity included giving significant financial support to Republican candidates running in competitive swing districts. The Republican Party of Texas was notably absent in these races.
In HD 70 in Collin County, Phelan spent $415,000 to assist Republican nominee Jamee Jolly, who was narrowly defeated by Democrat Mihaela Plesa. In HD 118 in Bexar County, Phelan spent $367,249.99 on Rep. John Lujan’s successful campaign against Democrat Frank Ramirez. In HD 37 in Cameron and Willacy counties, Phelan spent $143,370 to help Rep. Janie Lopez defeat Democrat Luis Villarreal in a seat previously held by a Democrat.
The Republican Party of Texas did not report spending any money on behalf of any of these Republican candidates running in the most competitive Texas House races.
Despite Phelan spending more than 200 times as much money as the Republican Party of Texas did to defeat Democrats in Texas House races during this past election, the Texas GOP has announced plans to run attack ads against Phelan in his district.
The Texas GOP’s ad falsely claims that Phelan “thinks Democrats should still run the show” and that Phelan “is teaming up with Democrats to kill our Republican priorities.”
In a recent interview with The Texas Voice, Phelan expressed support for significant property tax relief, border security, reining in big tech, and other conservative priorities. Phelan also credited the success of Republican State Representatives at the ballot box to them having delivered on “decades-long promises the Republican Party has been asking for” during the last legislative session and leading the nation on issues such as protecting the unborn and gun rights.
Under Phelan’s leadership, the Texas House passed legislation allowing for the “constitutional carry” of firearms. Additionally, the landmark pro-life legislation that was passed by the Texas House last session banned abortion in Texas.
The advertisement paid for by the Republican Party of Texas does not reference the conservative achievements during the past legislative session, or the conservative policy issues that Phelan has championed for the current legislative session.
Additionally, the ad omits that it has been the longstanding tradition in both the Texas House and Texas Senate for members of the minority party to hold committee chairmanships. This practice dates back many decades to when Democrats held overwhelming supermajorities in the legislature.
During his inaugural speech earlier this week, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick emphasized the fact that the vast majority of issues addressed by the legislature do not fall along partisan lines. “We normally pass 98 to 99% of all bills with Republicans and Democrats signing off on the bill,” said Patrick. “We’re not Washington DC. We’re a family in this legislature.”
The Republican Party of Texas has not announced plans to run any advertising attacking Patrick, even though he has appointed at least one Democrat committee chairman in the Texas Senate every legislative session since he became Lt. Governor in 2015.