Texans sent two dozen liberals packing in races up and down the ballot last night. From Rick Perry’s landslide victory to unprecedented upsets in the Legislature, voters have clearly made their policy choices known. Will this affect the speakership of the Texas House?

When the 82nd Legislature convenes in January, it will be with a decisive conservative majority. These new lawmakers got there not with the help of Austin lobbyists and power-brokers, but the hard work of grassroots activists dedicated to the promises of liberty.

With more than 20 new conservative Republicans elected to the Texas House, we find an indisputable majority in the Legislature. Will they now govern the way voters voted?

Make no mistake: voters embraced not the Republican label, but the conservative message the candidates campaigned on. Texans aren’t interested in mealy-mouthed moderation or compromises to our conservative convictions.

From the lawmakers’ first vote in January, an energized conservative base will be watching carefully for signs of wavering commitment to the conservative principles that sealed the election.

First Test
The first signal to voters about Republican commitment to conservative governance in the Texas House will come as soon as the next several days.

Speaker Joe Straus, originally selected for his post by 65 Democrats and 11 Republicans in a tightly divided 76-74 legislature, now faces a strongly conservative majority. He really has no choice but to move quickly to name a very different, and much more conservative, committee leadership team. Will he?

Texas voters are clearly uninterested in power-sharing and compromising with the failed policies of liberals. There is no longer a need for liberals and moderates to chair major committees, as they currently do under Mr. Straus.

A recent Baker Institute/Rice University study demonstrated just how far off the current House leadership is from the Texas electorate. Indeed, the same author found liberals fared better in this last Session under a Republican speakership than they did when a Democrat held the dais.

Be Cautious Of Moderation
Partisans on the left will claim this strong majority should adopt a “moderate” tone. Moderation, to paraphrase Barry Goldwater, in the pursuit of liberty is not a virtue.

This year’s primary defeats of “safe” Republican moderate committee chairs Delwin Jones and Tommy Merritt should be remembered by legislators as they consider critical votes. The devastating losses by Democrats last night was a loud repudiation of big-government policies.

Keeping elected officials honest requires our constant supervision as citizens. Accountability begins today.

We must be as engaged tomorrow as we were in the weeks before the election. Together, we can ensure a strong, vibrant Texas.


Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, and a dog. Check out his podcast, Reflections on Life and Liberty.

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