As conservatives’ frustration with the liberal governing coalition of the Texas House reaches a fever pitch, yet another Straus loyalist has acquired a challenger from the right.
Just this week, Hollywood Park Mayor Chris Fails announced his campaign for House District 122 – currently held by State Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio). Larson serves on the Elections Committee and chairs the Natural Resources Committee in the Texas House.
Since his election in 2010, Larson has consistently aligned himself with the leadership coalition in the Texas House – serving as one of Straus’ most loyal adherents. It that role, he has worked to kill many conservative reforms, including voting to weaken enforcement mechanisms in the sanctuary cities ban, and voting against Gov. Abbott’s ethics reform measures.
Larson’s misbehavior has been consistent – he has earned poor grades on the Fiscal Responsibility Index every legislative session, garnering a career rating of 40.
But it’s not just a lack of conservative bona-fides that promises to make this fight a tough one for Larson – it’s also the likelihood that Gov. Abbott may play a part in the San Antonio campaign, which could be very bad news for the establishment Republican.
After the House leadership (of which Larson is no small part) killed much of his special session agenda, Abbott sent out an email asking for donations specifically to combat the liberal republicans culpable for obstructing conservative reforms.
Larson has openly antagonized Abbott, filing HB 33 – an unconstitutional restriction on the Governor’s appointment powers deliberately designed to provide cannon fodder against Abbott by vaguely insinuating unethical behavior without any evidence to back the accusations up.
That may prove to have been a very poor tactical decision as accountability season ramps up, and Larson finds himself now challenged by Chris Fails.
“I’ve been approached by businessmen, Republican activists and other elected officials who are tired of liberal Lyle’s voting record and unwillingness to work with conservatives to advance common sense policy,” Fails said in a press release this week. “Lyle is ranked as one of the most liberal Republicans in the legislature by even Rice University’s ranking. Our District deserves better and I’m honored to be able to give voters a choice.”