Ever since his election, State Rep. Doug Miller (R-New Braunfels) has remained a thorn in the side of conservatives. In 2008, Miller squeaked into the legislature by narrowly defeating conservative champion Nathan Macias (R-Bulverde).
Installed by the deceptively named Parent PAC, a shell organization for school administrators and anti-school choice grocery magnate Charles Butt, Miller has been loyal to the liberal establishment that put him in office. Parent PAC proudly supported Wendy Davis, along with other liberal Republicans, such as Scott Fisher, Andrew Piel, and Bennett Ratliff.
Miller’s support of liberal initiatives on the House floor has earned him failing grades on the Fiscal Responsibility Index for the past two legislative sessions. Last year, Miller voted to extend food stamp benefits to felons, add billions of dollars in new debt, and voted with the Democrats against $91 million in border security funding. Though Miller’s voting record is toxic to conservatives, his use of special interest power is even worse. In Austin, Miller is known as one of the best friends of the lobby.
Indeed, by kissing up to the lobby Miller has been able to rake in incredible sums of money. Gifted with a chairmanship of the Special Purpose Districts Committee by House Speaker Joe Straus, Miller serves as lord of a powerful fiefdom. Through his committee flow the vast majority of the state authorizations for municipal utility districts (MUDs) and other local taxing districts. If a member wants to create a new taxing entity in their district, it must be passed through Miller’s committee.
Given Texas House rules approved by members, complete discretion rests in the hands of Miller to approve or deny the new districts. For real estate developers, Miller’s blessing means a shortcut through an otherwise tedious and bureaucratic alternative process—creating a MUD through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
Developers have responded by filling Miller’s campaign coffers to the brim. Out of almost 150 Texas House Republican candidates, Miller ranked fourth in total campaign spending this cycle, doling out almost $1 million before his runoff election even began. Partially due to a “Campaign Camaro” costing over $900 a month, the largesse has citizens talking in the district Miller has represented for eight years. One voter in New Braunfels joked, “Did you hear about the national forest they had to cut down in Oregon? It was because of all of Doug Miller’s damn mailers!”
Despite kicking his campaign into overdrive and clear-cutting a forest-sized path to victory, Miller failed to win re-election outright and is stuck in a runoff election with small business owner Kyle Biedermann who he outspent 7 to 1. Outgunned financially, Biedermann still managed to win 2 of 3 counties in the district the old fashioned way—by talking directly to voters.
“I started this campaign as a grassroots challenger knocking on thousands of doors and meeting tens of thousands of voters,” said Biedermann on election night. “I have been blessed to live in Texas for the past 30 years and I have been working as hard as I can to provide for my family and serve my community. Tonight was a great win for the taxpayers and conservative grassroots.”
A pillar of the community for over three decades, Biedermann is the owner of Biedermann’s Ace Hardware in Fredericksburg. He’s campaigned on a limited government platform of fighting for school choice, securing the border, protecting unborn, and defending the Second Amendment.