Yet another of Speaker Straus’ Republican allies is choosing to abandon her Texas House seat. Instead, she’ll try her luck in a campaign for the Texas Senate while criticizing the upper chamber’s “effectiveness.”
On Tuesday, State Rep. Cindy Burkett (R–Sunnyvale) announced that she would not seek re-election to the Texas House and will instead run against stalwart conservative State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Canton). Burkett’s move appears in no small part due to her fear of defeat by conservative activist Jonathan Boos, who has already announced his campaign against Burkett.
According to a Capitol gossip blog linked to House Speaker Joe Straus, Burkett was “hesitant” at first, “but after hearing from North Texas business leaders and folks in the education community for roughly the last year, Chair Burkett said she could not let them down.”
Burkett’s campaign announcement made her defense of corporate welfare the centerpiece of her campaign, while she attacked her would-be colleagues in the Senate as ineffective.
“They’re concerned about the lack of effectiveness on the Senate side right now,” Burkett said. “It’s more of a grassroots recruitment than anything else.”
“Hearing from North Texas business leaders and folks in the education community” is not, by any means, a “grassroots recruitment.” It’s an establishment effort to take on a stalwart conservative senator who has repeatedly sided with grassroots Texans over their entrenched special interests and crony agenda.
Since dispatching liberal incumbent State Sen. Bob Deuell in 2014, Hall has proven that he was – as his campaign alleged – “the right Bob for the job.”
Taking office in 2015 as part of a strongly conservative freshman class, Hall has been one of the most pro-taxpayer members of the Texas Senate – earning the distinction of “Taxpayer Champion” in each of his two sessions. In 2017, he earned a 97 (A) on the Fiscal Responsibility Index. This is due, in large part, to his strong opposition to corporate handout programs and consistent support of property tax and other fiscal reforms.
Meanwhile, Burkett has earned two failing grades on the Index in the same timeframe, earning a 48 (F) in 2017. That’s also significantly below the already failing GOP Caucus House average of 62 (F).
Burkett’s attacks on the Senate for “effectiveness” are laughable. Hall and the Texas Senate led the way on passing a litany of reforms this year, including 18 of Gov. Greg Abbott’s 20 priorities in the first week of the special session. But the vast majority of those reforms failed to become law, largely due to obstruction by Burkett and other liberal House Republicans who partnered with Democrats to dilute, delay, and destroy them.
Burkett is attacking Hall for not passing very many bills, an allegation that is more her fault than his, while touting her record as a “committee chair” despite never holding a single meeting of the redistricting committee she presided over in 2017.
Hall says he looks forward to putting his conservative record before voters.
“During my first term as a Senator, I have been ranked as one of the most conservative Senators in Texas. This consistent conservative record has led to strong opposition from liberal forces who want to see our government grow, our values diminished, and our rights infringed,” said Hall in a statement. “Those forces have found an ally in Cindy Burkett. Over the next six months the contrast will be clear to the voters and we welcome the challenge.”