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In a tough election cycle that claimed many of his Republican colleagues, State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (Irving) is coming back stronger than ever.

By a vote of 51% to 49%, Rinaldi edged out Democrat challenger Dorotha Ocker and will continue to represent the citizens of House District 115.

The reason? His record.

Unlike many in Austin that join or enable the coalition government that rules the Texas House, Rinaldi came in and joined the opposition with his very first vote—opposing the re-election of House Speaker Joe Straus (R­-­San Antonio) and joining with eighteen other lawmakers to support the conservative alternative: State Rep. Scott Turner (R-Rockwall).

Throughout the rest of his 140 days in Austin, Rinaldi earned a reputation as a conservative warrior and shrewd tactician, aggressively advocating for ending corporate welfare and seeking to salvage Gov. Greg Abbott’s landmark ethics bill after State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) poisoned the legislation.

Such a record did not go unnoticed.

At the end of his first session, Rinaldi was rated as the most conservative lawmaker in the Texas Legislature by Rice University professor Mark P. Jones, a Taxpayer Champion by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, and a “Pro-Life Hero” by Texas Right to Life.

Such actions rankled the establishment. In the primary they supported and funded Bennett Ratliff, who Rinaldi narrowly edged out to win his seat two years earlier. But despite their efforts Rinaldi won by an even greater margin in the rematch.

By sticking to his guns on issues that grassroots conservatives care about, Rinaldi gave voters a true alternative to his Democrat opponent and while a number of his less conservative colleagues came up short, Rinaldi’s solid record ensured that he will be returning to Austin.