The stage is set for a 2018 rematch of one of the closest Texas House races from last cycle, where an establishment Republican scraped by against his conservative challenger.
Earlier today, conservative activist Bryan Slaton announced that he will take another run at the seat for House District 2, which is currently held by Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Canton). The race is sure to be one of the hottest primary races in 2018.
Back in 2016, Flynn was barely able to beat Slaton’s challenge, winning by less than 600 votes out of 29,253. That’s less than a 2 percent victory margin – during a presidential year – with establishment backing.
“Two years ago, I told Republicans across District 2 that we needed stronger conservative leadership, to ensure that the limited government agenda they have is not killed in Austin,” said Slaton in a press release earlier today. “Unfortunately, the lack of leadership has caused our agenda to fail. Today we are seeing pro-life, pro-gun, limited government legislation die in the Texas House. Our Texas Government is not living within its means, using accounting gimmicks to balance our budget, and East Texas’ priorities are being ignored.”
Slaton is correct. Although Flynn began his legislative career conservatively enough, his establishment ties have compromised those bona fides and turned him into an obstacle for conservatives.
Most damaging to Flynn’s credibility has been his active involvement in a witch hunt against whistleblowing former University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall – where Flynn sought to impugn the Regent for investigating widespread establishment-influenced improprieties in UT’s admissions program as well as a payola scandal in the school’s forgivable loan program.
In addition to his establishment ties tainting voters’ trust in his commitment to conservatism, Flynn has also soured his credibility with the grassroots in his district as a steward of taxpayers’ money – doing nothing to prevent an unnecessary toll road despite activists seeking his help and meeting with him repeatedly. Flynn’s increased siding with establishment interests has caused him to slip from an A+ on the Fiscal Responsibility Index in 2011 to a B in 2013, and finally to a C in 2015.
House District 2 stretches across Hunt, Hopkins, and Van Zandt counties, and is surely going to be one of the most interesting races of the 2018 cycle. “I am honored by the outpouring of support we have received and look forward to earning the votes of the constituents of District 2,” Slaton said.