After obstructionist Republicans in the Texas House wrecked much of his conservative agenda during the 2017 special legislative session, Gov. Abbott vowed to hold legislators accountable in the primary. He followed through on that promise for a second time on Tuesday, endorsing conservative businessman Mayes Middleton in the Republican primary against incumbent State Rep. Wayne Faircloth (R–Dickinson).
“In the next legislative session, we have an opportunity to continue to pass reforms that make Texas even better,” said Abbott, in a video announcing the endorsement. “To do this, we need leaders who will work with me to advance a conservative agenda that will benefit every Texan in our great state. That is why I am endorsing Mayes Middleton for state representative.”
Faircloth was first elected to represent House District 23, consisting of Chambers county and portions of Galveston County, in 2014. Despite running as a conservative, Faircloth has proven himself to be a fiscal liberal, earning a failing grade of 62 on the most recent Fiscal Responsibility Index.
Abbott’s endorsement should come with little surprise. After the special session, Faircloth accused Governor Abbott of selling high-profile appointments, claiming he heard Abbott used campaign donations “to make appointments to agencies, committees, bureaus.”
The governor’s endorsement is not the only advantage Middleton has in this race. Faircloth revealed his campaign’s financial desperation in the days following Hurricane Harvey after he whined to Austin lobbyists that his fundraising efforts had been “significantly affected” by the storm and that he needed the lobby to come to his political rescue.
Abbott’s support is one of many conservative endorsements Middleton has received in the past weeks. Recently, Middleton announced the support of Congressmen Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, the current and former chairmen of the Congressional House Freedom Caucus. In a joint statement, the two conservative lawmakers said they expected Middleton to be a “fearless conservative leader in the Texas House.”
Abbott’s endorsement today against an incumbent Republican House member marks the second time this cycle the governor has supported a conservative challenger. He endorsed Susanna Dokupil against pro-abortion liberal Republican State Rep. Sarah Davis (West University Place) in November.