Earlier in January, candidates for Texas’ 11th Congressional District were asked a simple question at a forum hosted in Odessa by the Ector County Republican Party: “Did you vote in the 2018 General Election?”
Three of the candidates answered they did not, and all gave lengthy explanations as to why they were unable to vote in the important midterm election.
Answers from two of the candidates have remained consistent, and public attention has moved on to other issues. Brandon Batch’s response, however, has continued to linger as the candidate’s story has changed when fact-checked.
Batch told the audience in Odessa the reason he was unable to vote was that he worked at the time for U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R–TX10) in Washington, D.C. and was sent overseas to meet with foreign dignitaries on the congressman’s behalf. This travel abroad, he alleged, prevented him from casting a vote. Batch added he was given the decision of going on the trip or staying to cast a vote.
Batch has also said on multiple occasions that part of his rationale for not voting was that he lived in “one of the most liberal places on planet Earth” at the time.
When Batch’s employment records revealed he wasn’t working for McCaul during the 2018 General Election, Texas Scorecard requested comment to clarify the findings. Batch responded he was mistaken—he assumed the question posed at the forum was about the presidential election in 2016 and said he did not intend to mislead anyone with his answer.
In a previous article, Texas Scorecard reported that a public records search revealed only one record of a trip taken by Batch in 2016 to Colombia in February. Attempts to seek comment on this finding by both Batch and Rep. McCaul’s office went unanswered before publication.
McCaul’s office reportedly confirmed with an Odessa newspaper that the candidate took multiple trips abroad in 2016, and Batch has finally claimed he was in Saudi Arabia during the presidential election.
As this story first developed, an overarching fact was discovered: Batch only recently registered to vote in the State of Texas for the first time this past October and, apparently, he had not voted anywhere before 2019—a signal that the 30-year-old candidate didn’t have any intention to vote in the presidential election or any past election.
Of course, Batch could have voted by absentee ballot during his overseas trip—if he had been registered to vote.
The deadline to register to vote in the March 3 primary election is February 3.