Gov. Greg Abbott is continuing his efforts to elect conservative candidates in this year’s Texas Republican primary by announcing an endorsement of businessman Thomas McNutt as he runs for the open seat vacated by State Rep. Byron Cook (R–Corsicana).
“Thomas McNutt is a small businessman whose strong conservative principles and family roots in Corsicana make him the right candidate for House District 8,” said Abbott. “I’m asking the voters in Anderson, Freestone, Hill, and Navarro Counties to send Thomas McNutt to Austin next session. I’m proud to endorse him, and I know he will be a strong ally in the fight to lower property taxes and protect our liberties.”
Though he was supported by virtually every conservative organization in the state and ran an aggressive campaign, McNutt fell just a few hundred votes short of unseating Cook in 2016 with widespread voting irregularities across the district that were investigated by the Texas Attorney General. Relaunching his campaign this summer, McNutt believed he would be facing off against Cook in a rematch but the longtime lawmaker ultimately decided to flee the Texas Legislature on the same day as House Speaker Joe Straus (R–San Antonio).
While McNutt ran unopposed for a short time, Palestine realtor Cody Harris and Navarro College Dean Linda Timmerman quickly entered the race.
Both have ties to Cook and are primarily funded by the Austin lobby, but it appears Harris is the more credible candidate in the race and that any hopes surrounding Timmerman relate to her role as a spoiler and forcing a runoff between the other two.
Cook has sent mail on behalf of both Harris and Timmerman hoping to do just that, and in the final hours of the campaign the Austin lobby has poured hundreds of thousands into Harris’ campaign.
One such donation is particularly interesting—$25,000 from the Straus-led Texas House Leadership Fund which has traditionally backed liberal Republican lawmakers loyal to the status quo.
Abbott’s endorsement comes on the heels of endorsements from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Right to Life, State Sen. Brian Birdwell (R–Waco), and US Sen. Ted Cruz and is sure to have a major impact in the race that many observers will either be won by McNutt outright or feature a runoff between him and Harris. Early voting is ongoing and the election will be decided on March 6th.

Cary Cheshire

Cary Cheshire is the executive director of Texans for Strong Borders, a no-compromise non-profit dedicated to restoring security and sovereignty to the citizens of the Lone Star State. For more information visit