Gov. Greg Abbott is back on his streak of endorsing against Republican members of the Texas House. 

His latest target? State Rep. Ernest Bailes (R–Shepherd), with Abbott endorsing his challenger Janis Holt.

“As a lifelong Republican, Janis Holt is the type of conservative leader Texans in House District 18 need representing them in Austin,” said Abbott. “Not only will Janis help me carry a school choice bill across the finish line, she will also advocate for strong border security measures, policies that cut property taxes, and laws that protect the unborn. I encourage all Texans across House District 18 to join me in supporting Janis Holt for State Representative.”

First elected to the Texas House in 2017, Bailes has been one of the most liberal Republicans in the chamber.

Drawing Abbott’s attention in particular was Bailes’ activism against school choice—the governor’s top legislative priority.

Bailes was one of 21 Republicans who voted with Democrats to kill an education savings account proposal last year. Since then, Abbott has begun endorsing challengers to those members who opposed school choice. 

Additionally, Bailes has been identified as one of the architects of the Colony Ridge illegal alien housing development, which is located in his district. 

“In 2017, Representative Ernest Bailes and Senator Robert Nichols specifically took action on behalf of Colony Ridge to enact HB 4341 (Chapter 3795 of the Special District Local Laws Code) which established a small, five-acre Municipal Management District from undeveloped land in Liberty County,” Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote in a letter to Texas’ congressional delegation.

Bailes has not commented on Abbott’s endorsement of his opponent.

The Republican primary will take place on March 5, with early voting beginning February 20. 

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