With early voting for the Texas Republican Primary currently underway across the state, most campaigns are looking to convince voters they’re building momentum by showcasing support from conservatives, but lieutenant governor candidate Scott Milder is moving in the opposite direction.
On Wednesday night at around 11pm, the former Rockwall City Councilman, who couldn’t win re-election and is now challenging Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, sent an email blast to reporters touting the support of former State Sen. Bill Ratliff—the architect of the state’s pernicious Robin Hood law.
“A great leader must first be a great listener, and never forget that their first responsibility is to the entire state. Scott Milder is a proven conservative whose dedication to serving all Texans is evidenced in both word and deed. He is well-suited to healing the wounds in our State Capitol in order to tackle the many issues facing boardrooms and classrooms across Texas today,” said Ratliff.
A former member of the Texas Senate and self-described “51 percent Republican,” Bill Ratliff was known for partnering with Democrats in the Texas Legislature to thwart conservative reform—even joining with them to stop a redistricting plan that would have benefited Republicans. But most pernicious was his successful effort to pass the Robin Hood tax into law in 1993.
After passing that law, Ratliff was elected by a Democrat-led coalition of Texas Senators to succeed then-Lt. Gov. Rick Perry after George W. Bush was elected president. He served out the remainder of Perry’s term and made plans to run for re-election statewide before realizing his liberal record would not appeal to the Republican Party’s conservative primary voters.
Since then Ratliff has involved himself in the careers of his sons Bennett and Thomas Ratliff while donating to Democrat Wendy Davis’ campaign against Gov. Greg Abbott.
Bennett was a one-and-done member of the Texas House defeated by conservative State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R–Irving) in the Republican primary and Thomas was a lobbyist for Microsoft while serving on the State Board of Education before declining to seek re-election.
Since January of 2017, citizens have enjoyed a “Rat-Free Texas” with no Ratliff currently serving in elected office.
Milder’s decision to tout the Ratliff endorsement is interesting given his attempts to appeal to school teachers and administrators under the #blockvote movement. Even Bill Ratliff’s son Bennett had the sense to distance himself from his father’s failed Robin Hood policy during his losing state representative campaign.
On a clear path to defeat on March 6th, the Milder campaign will be useful for the sole purpose of showcasing Republicans who are out of touch with their conservative colleagues and the electorate at large. Texans for Fiscal Responsibility has endorsed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for his sterling record of standing up for taxpayers and looks forward to his compelling primary victory.