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I have been a loyal donor and supporter of State Rep. Jared Patterson (R–Frisco) since he first ran for state representative in 2014. Unfortunately, his performance in his first session this past spring revealed that he wasn’t prepared for the pressure that comes from the Austin establishment.

When I first met Jared, I was left with the impression that he would be bold and courageous and would fight to move the Republican caucus in a more conservative direction. I believed that he would be willing to call out moderates in our own party who were preventing the passage of Republican Party priorities. I believed his freshman session would be similar to those of Reps. Stickland, Tinderholt, and Rinaldi. These men showed up and immediately began standing on conservative principles. In a very short period of time, they became scorned by the Republican establishment due to their unwillingness to go along with the moderate agenda that was dictated to them. As a result of their courage, I showed up with even more money for their re-election campaigns.

Jared, on the other hand, took a very different approach to governing. Instead of pushing against the big-government agenda of the legislature, he fell in line with leadership’s push to deliver a purple session. Following the session, I watched some lawmakers be honest about the purple results of the session. I watched others articulate why they thought we actually had a conservative session. Others, like Jared, stayed silent. I honestly have more respect for people I disagree with than a public official who won’t even say what he thinks. Truthfully, I still don’t know whether Jared believes we had a conservative session or a purple one. I’m sure Jared would be willing to call me privately and tell me he thinks that conservative policy was sidelined this session. I’ve seen far too many politicians be willing to privately align themselves with grassroots frustrations while staying silent publicly to keep the establishment happy.

Ironically, the thing that took Dennis Bonnen down was an unwillingness to be consistent with his private and public actions. Duplicity cannot be rewarded by grassroots conservatives like myself.

Witnessing Jared’s fear of the establishment had nearly convinced me to withdraw my support for his re-election. But the Bonnen corruption scandal was the final straw for me.

Michael Quinn Sullivan accused Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen of deceptive practices and a corrupt offer, stemming from a private conversation between himself and the speaker. This accusation was followed by a complete denial from the speaker, followed by the revelation that Michael had a recording of the conversation.

Then Michael made the recording available for state representatives to hear. Did you know that Jared Patterson refused to go listen to the recording? Did you know that the same guy who was willing to show up to lobbyist receptions throughout the entire session was unwilling to go listen to a conversation that revealed corruption at the highest levels of his own leadership?

Fast forward to October, and Michael released the recording. Maybe then Jared would finally admit, after all of Texas knew his speaker was a liar, that the Texas House needed new leadership. Nope. Not even then. In fact, Jared Patterson waited until Dennis Bonnen decided to step down before he called for the speaker to step down.

If that order seems a little confusing, it’s because it is. You have to honestly ask yourself if Jared even wanted Bonnen out, or whether he was holding out in hopes that the corruption might be allowed to stay for one more session. It’s very disturbing that Jared still remains on the good list of the corrupt speaker (check Bonnen’s own statement about his decision to not seek re-election.)

A good friend of mine told me something early in my political involvement that I will never forget. He told me to ask a politician who their enemies were, and that would be an indicator of how effectively they were advancing the principles they claim to hold. Unfortunately, Jared Patterson is not only the self-described “Democrats’ favorite freshman” but he’s also still on the “good list” for the corrupt speaker. Jared has taken a list of people who oppose conservative fighters and made them his closest admirers.

Jared Patterson got elected in 2018 by convincing a group of people like myself to invest our time, talent, and treasure into his campaign. He then turned around and decided that none of us mattered, and that his newfound powerful position could be kept if he kept an entire new set of influencers pleased. Grassroots conservatives have to be willing to let lawmakers make that choice. We can’t allow ourselves to be guilt-tripped into keeping the same guy around because he’s better than his opponent or because he didn’t fall as far as others. Matt Schaefer said it best when he said, “The behavior we tolerate becomes the standard we set”. That statement was in regards to Dennis Bonnen, but it applies across the board.

Jared Patterson cannot be the standard, and he won’t be receiving my support in 2020.

This is a commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to [email protected].