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Tuesday night’s Republican run-off was great for conservatives, posting strong wins around the state. It was also a very bad night for squishy Republicans, like House Speaker Joe Straus. And a downright miserable one for Mr. Straus’ own state senator, the newly defeated Jeff Wentworth.

The Texas Legislature has been vastly improved with this primary election cycle, and last night only cemented conservative gains. Of the state legislative races, the biggest run-off news was conservative-champion Dr. Donna Campbell defeating liberal incumbent Jeff Wentworth by a two-to-one margin.

One quick lesson for Republicans in the Texas House: the closer they stand to Speaker Straus and his henchmen – like State Reps. Charlie Geren and Jim Keffer – the more likely they are to lose.

Two more Straus committee chairmen (Sid Miller and Chuck Hopson) lost re-election, joining the three Straus chairs who lost in the first round of primary voting.

In the open-seats, Straus-friendly candidates fell like flies.

With only one exception, open-seat races broke for the conservatives – strongly.

In those open-seat races, we saw desperate moderates trying unsuccessfully to smear conservatives with the noxious lies promulgated Rep. Keffer and lobbyist Bryan Eppstein. The liars lost big, over and over. (Ironically, the one exception was in HD114 where Bill Keffer – one of our endorsees and Jim’s brother – saw those tax-hike lies used against him.)

The night produced only one somber note: State Rep. Jim Landtroop lost to Ken King. Just like conservative State Rep. Wayne Christian‘s loss in May, the Straus team beat Mr. Landtroop only by giving him an 80% new district, out-spending him, and lying about his record. (That’s apparently the only way the Straus team can beat conservatives.)

For further proof of Joe Straus’ toxicity, look at Rep. Miller. He signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and even earned our endorsement because of his 2011 rating on the Fiscal Responsibility Index. Yet he bet big siding with Speaker Straus’ leadership… and lost even bigger.

Lawmakers need to realize sooner than later that Joe Straus is incapable of helping incumbent conservatives, even in those rare times when he is willing.

One race – the new HD12 – finds the final tally close enough (less than 200 votes) for a possible recount. We endorsed Tucker Anderson, though Kyle Kacal came out on top. Both signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

A wrap-up look at our winning candidates from last night:

SD25: Donna Campbell beat Jeff Wentworth like a drum.

HD11: Travis Clardy overcame heavy odds to beat long-serving incumbent Chuck Hopson in House District 11.

HD24: Dr. Greg Bonnen of Galveston County produced a strong win over Ryan Sitton.

HD67: Jeff Leach of Collin County posted a big win over Jon Cole.

HD68: Drew Springer of Cooke County defeated tax-and-spend wannabe Trent McKnight.

HD91: Stephanie Klick of Tarrant County posted a hard-fought win over tax-and-spend candidate Ken Sapp.

Let’s remember that for as important as any political win might be, what truly matters are the policy changes that result from being engaged citizens. All the passion each of us has put into getting “our” candidates elected must be multiplied during the next legislative session. It’s our job to hold our elected officials accountable in the fight for a stronger Texas!