Seeing a gubernatorial candidate tank yet again, Texas Democrats and their out-of-state liberal benefactors are reportedly dumping millions of dollars in attack ads against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. For the most part, they are recycling the “hits” first leveled (unsuccessfully) in the GOP primary by liberal Republican Eva Guzman and paid for by Texans for Lawsuit Reform.
In the weeks leading up to the March primary, TLR’s political team assured major donors that Paxton would lose the primary to Guzman (who ended up placing a distant third) – but even if he won the primary, they claimed, he would suffer a massive loss in November.
Instead, polling from the University of Texas/Texas Politics Project released last week finds Paxton leading his Democrat challenger by 14 points. With Paxton having emerged nationally as leading the legal opposition to the Biden administration, Democrats – and some crony Republicans – are eager to replace him with someone more in keeping with the D.C. ethos.
Enter Rochelle Garza, a trial lawyer affiliated with the far-left wing of the American Civil Liberties Union. She has volunteered to help repeat illegal aliens avoid deportation and help human traffickers in their legal defense. As the Democrats’ candidate for attorney general, Garza has taken strident positions against law enforcement efforts on the southern border. She even described the U.S. Border Patrol agents as “terrorizing” the communities along the Rio Grande. (She has taken no such position against the cartels.)
All of which makes the position of Texans for Lawsuit Reform very curious.
As noted above, the organization spent heavily against Paxton in the March primary, trying to install a liberal Republican as Texas’ attorney general. TLR’s founder, Houston businessman Dick Weekley, has refused to put the primary in the past … or put any of the entity’s massive stockpile of cash toward helping Paxton. Weekley told this publication last month – before Garza’s radical positions were widely known – that “others can save” Paxton.
Meanwhile, Texans for Lawsuit Reforms is helping save Texas Democrats from the predicted Republican wave.
In the 2022 election, TLR is the top donor to liberal Democrat Morgan LaMantia, a lawyer running for an open Texas Senate seat in South Texas against Republican Adam Hinojosa. The district’s boundaries are aligned with the congressional seat won by Republican Mayra Flores in a special election earlier this year – making it a battleground for Democrats.
Several years ago, Weekley declared himself and TLR to be pro-school choice, and set up “Texans for Education Reform” to fight (unsuccessfully) for the issue. But in this cycle, their candidate – LaMantia – is supported by the liberal anti-school choice group “Parent PAC,” which is funded by an out-of-state teacher union.
In short, TLR is the No. 1 donor to a liberal trial lawyer Democrat running in an open seat, but isn’t supporting the incumbent Republican attorney general.
At various points in his political history, Weekley has cajoled conservatives to attack Democrats when they could not for various ideological reasons endorse the Republican. Yet Weekley and TLR – having spent several million attacking Paxton in the GOP primary – have not offered even a tepid criticism of Rochelle Garza, her radical positions on the border, or her disdain for Texas’ entrepreneurs and businessmen.
With each passing day, it looks more and more like Texans for Lawsuit Reform is just fine with a Democrat serving as attorney general. What we cannot know is if that is because they agree with her radical positions or merely – out of personal spite – want Paxton to lose a seat they never wanted him to hold.