After Republican State Rep. Lyle Larson (San Antonio) penned an editorial pushing for the end of the two-party system, one of his Republican colleagues has responded by inviting him to leave the party and run as an independent.
On June 9, Larson wrote an editorial titled “We need to get rid of the two-party system,” which was published in the Galveston County Daily News, nearly 300 miles away from Larson’s district.
In the piece, Larson argues that “the majority of Americans are centrist” and that a new independent party in Texas “could balance out the fractious far left and right leanings of the incumbent parties.”
That’s an assertion fellow Republican State Rep. Dustin Burrows (Lubbock) has expressed significant disagreement with.
In an interview on The Chad Hasty Show on Monday, Burrows—who previously served as the chairman of the Texas House Republican Caucus—said he found the editorial surprising and confusing.
“It left a lot of us scratching our heads. I mean, it seems as though he’s advocating for a system more like France’s, because I guess he’s jealous of the French democracy by comparison, and the establishment of a new different party other than a Republican Party,” said Burrows. “An independent party that doesn’t champion conservative thought. That I guess doesn’t champion Second Amendment, taking care of the unborn life, and other conservative issues.”
Burrows ultimately challenged Larson to put his words into action.
“Nothing is stopping you. Put your money where your mouth is, and if you want to run as an independent, run as an independent.”
“I’m very comfortable as a Republican. I guess some people just aren’t,” Burrows later added.
Despite Larson’s current affiliation with the Republican Party, his voting record in the Texas House puts him closer to most Democrats.
During the last legislative session, Larson earned a 41 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index, a score that places him in the bottom percentile of Republicans. Larson repeatedly voted with Democrats last year to expand the size of government and even voted against Republican Party of Texas priority legislation to end taxpayer-funded lobbying.
In 2017, Gov. Greg Abbott even took the rare action of endorsing against the incumbent lawmaker in the Republican primary, airing television ads in which Abbott stated, “Lyle Larson is one of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives.” Abbott also took aim at Larson for joining with Democrats to vote against provisions to strengthen the sanctuary city bill, as well as his vote against property tax reform.
This cycle, however, Abbott switched gears, endorsing every Republican lawmaker running for re-election, including Larson.
Larson’s office did not respond to a request from Texas Scorecard for comment on his response to Burrows or whether there are any specific elections he believes the current two-party system has gotten wrong.