A former member of the Texas Legislature points to the voting record of his former colleague as evidence that the congressional hopeful is “not a conservative.”

In an open letter to Republicans in Texas’ 5th Congressional District, former State Rep. Steve Toth warns voters that State Rep. Lance Gooden (R–Terrell) is “not the kind of person you can trust to vote your conservative values in Washington, D.C.”

Gooden and political fundraising consultant Bunni Pounds are competing in the May 22 Republican primary runoff to fill the open congressional seat left by retiring U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R–Dallas.

Toth represented House District 15 in The Woodlands in 2013–14, and as the district’s 2018 Republican nominee he’s expected to regain the seat in November.

“I have served in the Texas House of Representatives with Rep. Lance Gooden, and thought it important to share some of my thoughts with you,” Toth says in his letter dated May 7:

“Simply put, Lance Gooden is not a conservative. Based on his most recent voting record, he’s ranked by a non-partisan Rice University study as the 5th most liberal Republican in the Texas House. Several trusted conservative organization who fight for lower taxes, less government, and to protect our values also rank him as one of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas House.”

Gooden has an overall C+ rating on the Fiscal Responsibility Index for his three sessions in the legislature and earned a failing grade of 42 in 2017 (the highest-rated Democrat earned a 36). Toth earned an A rating on the 2013 Index.

Toth also raps Gooden for regularly voting with liberals, then changing his vote after the fact in the official record – a practice lawmakers are known to misuse to mislead constituents about their voting history:

“In the 83rd Session, my desk was very near the Legislative Clerk on the floor of the Texas House. On numerous occasions, I would watch Lance Gooden cast his votes with the Democrats, then walk — sometimes almost run — down to the clerk to change his vote that would appear in the official record. That’s not leadership, that’s political gamesmanship. You, the voter, deserve better. Lance Gooden is on record as saying, “I did not run to be a Republican platform value upholder,” and his record bears that out.”

“During campaign season, it never ceases to amaze me how politicians seek to reinvent themselves as conservatives when seeking your vote,” Toth concludes. “It is important that citizens of the 5th Congressional District understand that Lance Gooden is a very talented politician, but he’s not the kind of person you can trust to vote your conservative values in Washington, D.C.”

Early voting for the May 22 runoff takes place May 14–18.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.


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