BEAUMONT—Despite snow and freezing conditions, Texans showed up Monday night at a meeting hosted by the True Texas Project to hear from Attorney General Ken Paxton in southeast Texas.

The reason for his visit? To campaign for David Covey, who is challenging House Speaker Dade Phelan in the Republican primary.

“Anyone willing to take on Dade Phelan…I call him ‘Drunk Dade’…has tremendous courage,” Paxton said, referring to an incident last year where it appeared Phelan presided over the House while intoxicated. “Defeating the speaker will change the trajectory of this state.”

Paxton recounted the impeachment trial in the Senate last year and the tough odds he faced.

“There were several Republicans, particularly attorneys, who wanted my job. And so they were organizing behind the scenes trying to get just one of the 20 charges [to stick], they threw as many as they could,” said Paxton.

“I would have lost but for the people of Texas speaking to their senators, even though they were told not to speak to them,” he added. “I am convinced your message to them and your prayers are what ultimately kept me here. It was nothing else. I am convinced.”

Paxton explained that the culture in Austin rewards Democrats despite Republican majorities.

“Let me tell you how it works in the Texas House, I was there for 10 years. There are 76 members that have to vote for you to be Speaker….So what happens, the Democrats have outsmarted us since Joe Straus got elected. And what they do is they block vote. And they all go to different Republicans and they say, “What would you give us?’ And guess who wins the race? The Republican that gives the Democrats the most stuff.”

“So what do they get? Committee assignments, committee chairmanships, they get to block certain priorities. ‘Wasn’t the speaker’s fault He didn’t do it.’ It was done by these Democrats, these terrible Democrats that he put in power.”

When introducing Covey, Paxton told voters that they had the power to change the direction of the state.

“I believe more than ever, that this election will impact our future. And you are in the blessed position to have the opportunity to change the history of the state of Texas,” said Paxton.

“Let’s talk about the elephant not in the room. Dade Phelan has failed every man, woman, and child in this room,” Covey told the crowd.

“We’re fighting, not just for southeast Texas, but for all of Texas because we have a speaker who is selling out our state,” he added.

The stop in Beaumont wasn’t the only campaign visit Paxton made while visiting Phelan’s district, as he also attended a campaign lunch event for Covey earlier in the day.

The visit comes as Paxton continues touring the state in support of candidates he has endorsed for the Texas House.

“I’m encouraging you, I’m doing everything I can,” said Paxton. “I wouldn’t have left at 8 degrees in McKinney this morning to drive all the way out to Beaumont if I did not believe this is super important.”

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens