U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R–TX) says he’s prepared to campaign against Republican state lawmakers who oppose school choice.
Cruz made the comments at a meeting of the Ellis County Chamber of Commerce in Waxahachie this week, where he described the challenge of passing school choice legislation as “geographic” rather than partisan.
“Look, we’ve got a lot of rural communities, and I love rural communities, but a lot of rural Republicans have been nervous about school choice and that’s been the political impediment. Because typically in a rural county, the school district is the largest employer,” said Cruz.
By threatening to get involved in those Republican primary races, Cruz says he hopes to flip that behavior.
“What I’m trying to do is change the calculus so that when you have elected officials looking at it, they say, ‘Listen, I don’t really want to have Cruz screw with my race. Maybe it would just be a lot simpler to do the right thing,’” said Cruz.
While school choice legislation was repeatedly struck down in the Texas House during the regular legislative session earlier this year, Cruz is optimistic that a bill can pass during a special session later this year.
“I believe I think there’s a real chance this year … for Texas to pass a serious school choice bill that empowers every school kid in America, and I think Texas needs to lead on this.”
This is not the first time Cruz has endorsed candidates based on their support for school choice. In the 2022 primary, Cruz said it was a “critical factor” in earning his support.
That decision led to a split between Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott on a number of state legislative endorsements. While Abbott endorsed incumbents State Reps. Kyle Kacal (R–College Station) and Glenn Rogers (R–Graford), Cruz supported their challengers. Both Kacal and Rogers won their elections and went on to support a proposed prohibition in the state budget from allowing state funds to be used for any school choice program.
Since the last election, however, Abbott has dialed up his support for school choice, touring the state and holding rallies earlier this year as part of his “Parent Empowerment Tour.” He has said he will call multiple special sessions if needed to pass school choice legislation, adding that “empowering parents to choose the best educational path for their child remains an essential priority.”
A special session on school choice is expected to take place in October.