After she was defeated in the Republican primary this year, one Republican state representative aligned with House Speaker Joe Straus is backing a liberal Democrat for her seat over her former conservative rival.

State Rep. Debbie Riddle (R–Tomball) is featured on mail pieces hitting Republican households this week endorsing liberal Democrat Michael Shawn Kelly in the November election. Kelly would have been Riddle’s opponent had she won the Republican primary. Earlier this year Riddle suggested she might back the Democrat over the Republican nominee, conservative grassroots leader Valoree Swanson. These mail pieces now confirm Riddle is, in fact, voting for the Democrat.


On the mail piece and in his recent campaign materials, Michael Shawn Kelly seeks to portray himself as a “common sense conservative.” He eschews specific policy positions in favor of broad statements designed to appeal to voters from both parties.

But Kelly did not always work so hard to conceal his far-left beliefs. Early in his campaign he was more honest about his true positions on the issues, and they’re not something most Republicans would agree with.

In one post, Kelly shared a quote from Robert Reich saying the Republican Party “has come to embody intolerance, hatefulness, and indifference to the poor.” In another post, he called those who oppose “anti-discrimination ordinances,” such as Houston’s HERO ordinance, “anti-LGBT bigots.”

Kelly has also attacked our state’s top Republican leaders. In one post, he shared a video produced by Al Jazeera attacking Ted Cruz over his immigration policies. In another, Kelly attacked Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, calling him “Danny Patrick” and a “pompous blowhard,” saying the lieutenant governor wants to “dismantle public education.”

In yet another post, the Democrat railed against “liberty and constitution groups,” warning his supporters that such groups are “dangerous to the well-being of our society.”

On the issues, Kelly comes across as a typical far-left Democrat. He declares that women “have a right to an abortion.” He supports raising the minimum wage and shares stories praising the benefits of Obamacare. He supports additional restrictions on the right to own and carry a firearm, comparing such restrictions to traffic laws and accusing “the 2nd Amendment people” of thinking “they should be allowed to drive at ANY speed in a school zone.”

And although Kelly is happy to use Debbie Riddle’s endorsement to try to dupe Republicans into voting for him, earlier this year he mocked her “insane rants” on Facebook that allow him to “see what is going on in that head of hers” and said the Republican Party is “run by a bunch of right wing pseudo Christians.”

“Hell, I was even “friends” with Debbie Riddle on Facebook until she dumped me for asking her is [sic] she thought it was OK for people to own surface to air missiles. Oh well, if [sic] was fun reading her insane rants for a while just to see what was going on in that head of hers. And please consider this: just because their party is run by a bunch of right wing pseudo Christians doesn’t mean some of the individuals don’t have great hearts and maybe some good ideas.”

Riddle is not the only member of Straus’ inner-circle of Republicans who has shown her true colors now that she no longer has to run for reelection in a Republican Primary. Earlier this month, State Rep. Jim Keffer (R–Eastland) joined the board of the far-left Center for Public Policy Priorities and late last year, State Rep. Patricia Harless (R–Spring) publicly encouraged Democrats to vote in the Republican Primary, admitting that was how she had been reelected in the past.

Voters are becoming increasingly aware that many of their elected leaders campaign as conservatives but govern like liberals when they get to Austin. Those who mislead their voters in a cynical quest for power must be driven out of office and replaced with servant leaders.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.


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