A far-left Democrat placed in leadership by House Speaker Dade Phelan says his chairmanship within the Republican-led Legislature will help him be re-elected to office.

State Rep. Joe Moody, an El Paso Democrat, has been serving in the House since 2009.

The El Paso native was also speaker pro tempore in the House for four years; however, House Speaker Dade Phelan (R–Beaumont) stripped Moody’s title in 2021 after he joined a Democrat walkout during a special session in 2021.

Although he was stripped of his “No. 2” title, Moody has remained in positions of leadership. During the most recent legislative session, which adjourned on May 29, Phelan appointed Moody to chair the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence.

In the past, Moody has promoted gun control, filed legislation to create a registry of gun sales, and sought to abolish the death penalty—causing many to question whether he is fit to chair a Republican-majority House committee.

Since his initial election, Moody has received failing grades from both Young Conservatives of Texas and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. This past legislative session, Moody received one of the lowest grades in the state House for fiscal responsibility, earning a score of 18 out of 100.

This last session, Moody voted in favor of criminalizing honey producers, taking $8 billion from the property Tax Relief Fund to increase teacher salaries, Medicaid expansions, and raising the salary for district judges (to which the pension for state lawmakers is tied).

While ignoring his anti-conservative voting record, Moody flaunted his position of leadership in the Republican-majority House.

“I’m in the unique position of having a significant leadership role despite being in the minority party,” he bragged in his re-election announcement. “In a highly partisan environment, that’s no accident.”

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) acknowledged Moody’s place of leadership and opposed it in a social media post, saying, “He’s telling the truth. Establishment Republicans continue to put far-left Democrats in leadership positions in the Texas House. It’s no wonder Republican priorities keep dying.”

Moody explained that while many have asked him to “consider other positions of leadership,” he believes he needs to continue in the House “until the job is done.”

So far, there have been no challengers in District 78. Unless re-elected, Moody’s term will end in January of 2025.

As of publication, Moody did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s request for comment.

Soli Rice

A journalist for Texas Scorecard, Soli is a new Texan with a passion for politics. She's excited to hone her writing skills and help spread truth to Texans.