Former liberal House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio has spent $15,000 this past week funding establishment candidates through his Texas Forever Forward political action committee.
His PAC’s latest finance reports show donations to establishment-backed candidates for the Texas House.
- $5,000 to liberal Republican incumbent Kyle Kacal in House District 12
- $2,500 to Galveston-area attorney Patrick Gurski in House District 23
- $2,500 to Plano ISD’s Education Foundation Executive Director Jamee Jolly in House District 70
- $2,500 to former New Braunfels Mayor Barron Casteel in House District 73
- $2,500 to former Southlake Mayor Laura Hill in House District 93
These candidates have also received donations and endorsements from some combination of the following establishment-aligned political action committees: Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Texans for Responsible Government—funded by Abbott mega-donor Michael Porter, and the Associated Republicans of Texas.
Straus, who served as speaker of the Texas House from 2009 to 2019, has continued to dabble in Texas politics ever since.
Last year, during the consideration of election integrity legislation, Straus came out against the Republican priority bill, claiming, “It’s bad for business and, more importantly, it’s bad for our citizens.” This followed his earlier announcement that he voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
Famous for his use of Democrats committee members to axe Republican priority legislation, Straus retired after the Republican Caucus passed bylaws to elect a unified Republican candidate for speaker, forcing the him to retire or face the loss of his speakership.
Meanwhile, Straus continued his political activism through his Texas Forever Forward PAC, donating mostly to his allies in the House and moderate Republicans.
Notably, on the Texas Forever Forward website, Straus touts this accomplishment from his tenure:
In 2017, he led the successful fight against discriminatory legislation that threatened severe economic harm. As a result of his principled stand on that issue, the Dallas Morning News named Speaker Straus its 2017 Texan of the Year. The newspaper wrote that Speaker Straus ‘protected Texas from some of its worst political impulses, prevented serious damage to the economy and brought together enough bipartisans to check the far-right dominance in the Republican Party.’
The “far-right” legislation The Dallas Morning News referred to was the Women’s Privacy Act, meant to provide protections from men pretending to be women who were using women’s private facilities. Straus condemned the bill, and the liberal media celebrated him for his actions.
Election Day is tomorrow, May 24. Polling locations can be found here.