With the fourth special session officially over, and the possibility of a fifth special session looming, Gov. Greg Abbott is continuing to endorse challengers to incumbent Republicans who opposed school choice.

Abbott has recently announced his endorsements against State Representatives Travis Clardy (R–Nacogdoches) and Drew Darby (R–San Angelo).

Both Clardy and Darby joined Democrats in voting to strip a school choice proposal out of a school spending bill last month. That has put them—and the other 19 Republicans who joined those efforts—in Abbott’s crosshairs. While several of those Republican school choice opponents have announced they will not be seeking re-election, those that do are likely to find their opponents endorsed by the governor.

Joanne Shofner, who is running against Clardy, has made his opposition to school choice a central part of her campaign.

“Joanne Shofner is the kind of new conservative voice we need in Austin to help deliver key Republican victories that are important to Texans,” said Abbott. “As a small business owner, Joanne understands that cutting property taxes is essential for Texas to remain the economic engine of the nation.”

The endorsement has created what is likely to be the only case where Abbott endorses against an incumbent member supported by Attorney General Ken Paxton. Where Paxton has endorsed a slate of candidates running against those who supported his impeachment earlier this year, he also endorsed Clardy—who voted against impeachment and has proposed legislation to reform the impeachment process.

Abbott also announced his support for Stormy Bradley against Darby. “Stormy Bradley is the only conservative in the race for House District 72 that will help me bring school choice across the finish line,” said Abbott. “I know she will work tirelessly to empower parents to choose the best education option for their child, ensure Texas has the tools and resources it needs to continue to respond to President Biden’s disastrous open border policies, and put us on a path to eliminate property taxes so homeowners and small businesses can continue to thrive in our booming economy.”

The latest endorsements mean Abbott has so far endorsed challengers to five incumbent Republicans. The primary election will take place March 5, 2024. 

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens