House District 12 encompasses all of Robertson, Madison, Walker, Grimes, and Washington counties, along with part of Brazos County.
Incumbent State Rep. Kyle Kacal (College Station), a liberal Republican, will face challenger Ben Bius in the May 24 Republican primary runoff election.
A small-business owner, rancher, and current state representative for HD 12, Kacal maintains a career rating of “F” on the Texans for Fiscal Responsibility Index, the lowest rating of any Republican. The Young Conservatives of Texas also gave Kacal the lowest rating of any Republican (a 47), and Rice University’s Index ranked Kacal among the five most liberal Republicans.
In the last legislative session, Kacal signed onto a Democrat-sponsored bill to expand Medicaid, voted for the creation of an Office of Health Equity within the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, voted against a proposal to end mask mandates, and was one of several Republican holdouts on supporting GOP-sponsored bills relating to election integrity.
According to the most recent campaign finance reports, Kacal has raised more than $460,000 and currently has more than $75,000 cash on hand. Kacal has received a majority of his contributions from various lobby group political action committees and unions in Texas. House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) has funded more than $30,000 in polling. Other large donors include the Texas House Republican Caucus (nearly $50,000), the Texas Farm Bureau ($40,000), and Texans for Lawsuit Reform ($20,000).
Kacal has received the endorsements of the Associated Republicans of Texas, National Federation of Independent Business, National Rifle Association, Texas Realtors PAC, Texas Association of Business, Texas Medical Association, establishment-aligned Texas Alliance For Life, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas State Teachers Association PAC, and various Texas unions. Kacal has also been endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott and Speaker Phelan.
A Huntsville businessman, Bius has been active in supporting conservative candidates before his own run for office.
Based on data from the Texas Ethics Commission, Bius has self-funded his campaign to the tune of $360,000 and has raised just under $170,000. He currently has around $30,000 on hand. Conservative Action for Texas has contributed $23,500, State Rep. Mayes Middleton (R–Wallisville) has given $20,000 to the campaign, and the Defend Texas Liberty PAC has contributed $1,000. Otherwise, Bius’ campaign is mostly being funded by Texas business professionals.
Bius has received the endorsements of Texas Right to Life, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, and grassroots organizations Texas Eagle Forum and United Republicans, as well as the recommendation of grassroots organization True Texas Project.
For the past several weeks, Texas Scorecard has been questioning all state legislative runoff candidates on issues important to voters as they head to the polls.
Neither Bius nor Kacal responded to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry on whether they would support ending the practice of awarding committee chairmanships to Democrats in the Texas House.
Kacal confirmed that he would support extending the protections for girls’ sports to women’s collegiate athletics in order to protect the competitions from men—with biological advantages—-masquerading as women. Bius did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.
Regarding property taxes, neither candidate responded to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry. Bius mentions lowering property taxes and fiscally responsible budgeting on his campaign website, while Kacal touts previous property tax relief legislation and suggests appraisal reform on his website.
On the issue of protecting parental rights in education by prohibiting teaching dangerous gender and sexual ideologies to elementary-aged children, Bius would support such a prohibition. Kacal did not respond.
Due to federal inaction as the border crisis continues, Bius supports Texas taking all legal and defensive action necessary to handle the invasion. Kacal did not respond.
Bius supports closing the loopholes in Texas obscenity laws that allow pornographic books in children’s school libraries, whereas Kacal did not respond.
Ending corporate welfare—taxpayer-funded tax breaks and subsidies to large corporations—is an issue Bius supports, as he says “it is not the place of the government to pick winners and losers in a free-market economy.” Kacal declined to respond.
Neither candidate responded to Texas Scorecard’s question on prohibiting vaccine mandates, which continue in colleges and businesses throughout Texas.
On the issue of abortion, Bius says he will work to further strengthen Texas’s pro-life laws in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court does not overturn Roe v. Wade, while Kacal did not respond.
The winner of the Republican runoff on May 24 will win the November general election by default since there is not a Democrat candidate. Early voting for the runoff election continues through May 20.