As the primary election creeps ever closer, the Republican establishment is attempting to protect its own.
The Texans for Responsible Government PAC was established in late 2020 by Republican donor and Abbott-supporter Michael Porter. TRG is meant to facilitate the political donations of Michael and Mary Porter, who have already personally donated more than $1.7 million in the 2022 election cycle, according to the Texas Ethics Commission.
Lobbyist Chris Britton is the executive director of the TRG PAC, and former Texas Insurance Commissioner Kent Sullivan sits on the board alongside Porter.
State Rep. Lacey Hull (R–Houston) is the most recent recipient of the group’s support, as announced in a joint statement with House Speaker Dade Phelan.
Her ratings from the 87th Legislative Session reflect that of a mid-tier Republican, with Texans for Fiscal Responsibility rating Hull at 59 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index and Young Conservatives of Texas giving her a rating of 76.
Phelan and Texans for Responsible Government donated a combined $50,000 to Hull, with Phelan calling Hull “a strong voice for the conservative values of House District 138.”
Thus far, TRG has donated to several Republican incumbents besides Hull, including Stephanie Klick (R–Fort Worth) and Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock). Both Klick and Burrows came under fire in the 87th Legislative Session for killing legislation that would protect children from gender mutilation.
In another example of the Austin Republican Establishment protecting its own, Gov. Greg Abbott gave his first Texas House endorsement to Klick. Klick, with a Fiscal Responsibility Index rating of 54, faces four primary challengers; Burrows, with a score of 39, faces one challenger; and Hull faces two.
TRG also donated to other incumbents, including moderate Republican John Lujan III (R–San Antonio). Lujan won the seat in a special election and does not have a primary challenger. However, in a district that traditionally votes Democrat in the general election, Lujan will face strong opposition.
Other TRG awarded donations went to liberal Republican Steve Allison (R–San Antonio), who has a Fiscal Responsibility Index rating of 35, and newly Republican Ryan Guillen (R–Rio Grande City), with a Fiscal Responsibility Index rating of 26. Two open seats have won the attention of TRG, with donations given to Barron Casteel in HD73 and Janie Lopez in HD37.
As Phelan, Abbott, and TRG circle the wagon to protect vulnerable incumbents from death by primary, early voting begins on February 14, with Election Day on March 1.