Following the 2018 elections, the State of Texas sent five freshmen Republican lawmakers to Washington. A little more than halfway into their first year in office, Texas Scorecard reviews what these Republican lawmakers have been doing with the power entrusted to them.
Chip Roy (CD 21)
Before running for office himself, Congressman Chip Roy was only known within political circles as a high-level political staffer and conservative firebrand.
Roy’s extensive political resume included organizing the conservative resistance to then-President George W. Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, helping then-Gov. Rick Perry write his book, serving as both U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s chief of staff and the First Assistant Attorney General of Texas, managing a pro-Ted Cruz for president super PAC, and working as vice president for the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
When longtime Congressman Lamar Smith announced he would not run for re-election, Roy jumped into the race to replace him with immediate support from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, the Club for Growth, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, and other conservative individuals and organizations. Touting a strong record and promising to fight on the frontlines, Roy survived a crowded primary and won a runoff and general election victory.
After arriving in Washington, Roy quickly joined the conservative U.S. House Freedom Caucus and even voted against U.S. Rep Kevin McCarthy of California as Minority Leader (preferring the more outspoken and fiery Jim Jordan of Ohio instead). He also began actively engaging conservative issues, notably shutting down Congress in order to force record votes and hold lawmakers accountable, and rigorously defending the conservative agenda in the media.
Van Taylor (CD 3)
Congressman Van Taylor, like his colleague Chip Roy, also came to Washington with a strong conservative record—eight years in the Texas Legislature (four in each chamber) in which he earned the distinction of “Taxpayer Champion” for his commitment to fighting for taxpayers.
As the shoe-in candidate to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson in the cherry-red 3rd Congressional District, Taylor was strongly supported by conservative organizations and activists.
While he has the same convictions and principles of conservatives like Roy, Taylor shines in winning strategic battles off the radar, such as his work on the Texas Legislature on the state’s Sunset Commission.
Since taking office, Taylor has continued that sort of work while also building a record of bipartisanship on common-sense issues, such as a bill he cosponsored with Democrat U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (NY) to help traveling families avoid TSA harassment, all while maintaining a strong voting record.
Dan Crenshaw (CD 2)
No freshman Republican congressman in the nation has achieved greater publicity than U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), who has become the closest thing the GOP could call a breakout star.
Beginning as an underdog in his Republican primary, Crenshaw’s grassroots appeal and life story as a Navy SEAL helped him win the primary and replace retiring Congressman Ted Poe in a solidly Republican district.
While Crenshaw was already on the uptick, he catapulted into the spotlight when he was mocked for his eyepatch on Saturday Night Live (Crenshaw wears an eyepatch as a result of an injury sustained while serving in Afghanistan). After a week of outrage, Crenshaw went on SNL the following week to accept an apology from the cast member and offer a message of unity that caught bipartisan praise.
Since then, he’s made a name for himself in the conservative movement consistently speaking on news channels, writing op-eds, and appealing to college students by speaking at college campuses and appearing on popular conservative shows like the Ben Shapiro Show and Louder with Crowder.
However, his voting record has been rather mixed. Currently Crenshaw has only a rating of 61 percent from FreedomWorks.
Lance Gooden (CD 5)
After a mixed record in the Texas Legislature, many feared Lance Gooden would become another swamp creature after being elected to Congress. In truth, however, Gooden appears to have turned over a new leaf.
Since taking office, Gooden has a sterling voting record—earning a rating of 100 percent on FreedomWorks’ most recent compilation—and has been an aggressive and vocal advocate for conservative initiatives on social media from the House floor and in frequent media appearances on network cable.
Ron Wright (CD 6)
A longtime conservative local official in Tarrant County, Wright ran for and won the race to succeed longtime Congressman Joe Barton after the lawmaker declined to run for re-election following news reports detailing how he sent lewd photographs to a number of women.
Since taking office, Wright has been a loyal conservative vote and made headlines for his pro-life position and his commitment to serving his constituents despite battling lung cancer. This past week, Wright told constituents he would not allow the disease to stop him from continuing to excel at the job he was elected to do.
“Since the beginning, I have been determined that the disease would not define me, and it hasn’t,” wrote Wright. “I have maintained a busy congressional schedule of constituent meetings, active committee participation, and votes in Washington as well as the important work in the district. I have no intention of slowing down.”