An attempt by Republican leadership in the Texas House of Representatives to formally censure three of their own members for supporting challengers to liberal incumbents failed on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Texas House GOP Caucus’ executive committee was pursuing a censure of Republican State Reps. Jeff Cason (Bedford), Ben Leman (Anderson) and Steve Toth (The Woodlands) for violating the bylaws of the caucus by supporting candidates in primary campaigns against incumbents.
Cason donated $2,000 to Mike Olcott, who challenged incumbent Rep. Glenn Rogers(R–Mineral Wells). Rogers angered the grassroots after earning a rating of 45 from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and a rating of 55 from Young Conservatives of Texas in his inaugural legislative session. Notably, Cason also donated to the challengers of Stephanie Klick (R–Fort Worth), Lynn Stucky (R–Sanger), and Reggie Smith (R–Van Alstyne)
Meanwhile, Leman endorsed, campaigned for, and donated to Ben Bius, who challenged incumbent legislator Kyle Kacal (R–Huntsville), widely considered one of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas House.
Toth also endorsed Ben Bius against Kacal.
Following an anonymous digital vote of members over the weekend, however, the effort failed with none of the three members being formally censured.
Notably, two of the members—Cason and Leman—are not running for reelection. Political consultant Luke Macias says the threat of censure was meant to send a message to new lawmakers next session.
“Caucus leadership wanted to use this to send a message to incoming members like Carrie Isaac, Nate Schatzline and others that they need to stay in line. The attempt backfired,” said Macias.
Toth told Texas Scorecard, “The Republican Caucus voted overwhelmingly against censure of members who shine a light on liberal members of the caucus.”