Texas State Rep. Ellen Troxclair is trying to hold onto her district in what is gearing up to be a competitive Republican primary battle against former State Rep. Kyle Biedermann.
Troxclair has represented House District (HD) 19—which includes the counties of Blanco, Burnet, Gillespie, and Kendall—since January 10, 2023. She is the first to hold the seat following the Texas Legislature’s reconfiguration of the state House districts in 2021.
Biedermann had previously served in the old House District 73 seat from 2017 until Troxclair took office. At the time, HD 73 covered the Comal, Gillespie, and Kendall counties, while Blanco was in the old HD 45 and Burnet in HD 20.
Texas Scorecard first reported on Biedermann’s comeback attempt when he announced on October 25, telling the outlet that his problems with leadership in the Texas Capitol motivated his decision.
“In 2020, I made the tough decision to return to my family and my business, choosing not to run for re-election,” Biedermann explained at the time. “Regrettably, our current representative has placed the interests of the Austin Swamp ahead of the constituents of District 19. I simply cannot sit on the sidelines and watch this happen.”
Besides Biedermann and Troxclair, entrepreneur Manny Campos of Marble Falls is also running for the seat. He currently has no recorded endorsements or public data on the amount of money he has raised.
Transparency USA notes that Troxclair’s top contributor this cycle has been the Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR) PAC, which has provided her with $92,750 in donations.
TLR, started in 1994 as a single-issue advocacy group, would go on to corral out-of-control lawsuits that had plagued the state. Today, the organization has evolved from being solely focused on tort reform to protecting establishment politicians and big business interests as one of the largest players in Texas politics.
Troxclair’s second-largest contributor at $50,000 is Joe Liemandt, the billionaire CEO of Trilogy Software and ESW Capital, who is based out of Austin.
Next up is the Texans for Responsible Government PAC, funded entirely by the retired Hill Country ranching couple Michael and Mary Porter. They have been consistent donors to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott since 2017, and gave Troxclair $20,000 this cycle.
Troxclair received a 91 out of 100 rating from the Young Conservatives of Texas—near the top of their list. On the other hand, she got a 68 out of 100 from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, which ranked about average among Republicans.
Her website says she has been endorsed by Abbott, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Rep. Chip Roy of Northwest Austin, the Texas Home School Coalition, American for Prosperity-Texas, and the National Federation of Independent Business.
Biedermann has raked in $136,388 this cycle, $75,000 of which comes from the Texans United for a Conservative Majority PAC. The group is mostly funded by businessman Farris Wilks.
Other than the PAC, Biedermann received over $60,000 from small-dollar donors.
Before he left office, Biedermann received a 94 out of 100 rating from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, which was one of their highest in 2021. He also reeled in a 98 out of 100 from the Young Conservatives of Texas in 2021, to come in as its third highest.
Biedermann has the backing of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller, and former Texas Republican Party Chairman Allen B. West, according to his website. In addition, the conservative grassroots organization True Texas Project recommended Biedermann.
On the Issues
Texas Scorecard asked Biedermann and Troxclair for their positions on several key issues to Republican voters for the upcoming primary. At the time of publication, only Biedermann has provided answers.
Biedermann said he opposes the expansion of gambling in Texas, supports school choice, and would “never” vote to give State Rep. Dade Phelan of Beaumont another term as House Speaker.
“We just need another choice,” he told Scorecard, adding that he “of course” supports removing all Democrats from heading committees.
In 2021, Biedermann voted for Phelan to a second term as House speaker along with 144 other Republicans in the chamber. The only GOP lawmakers who voted against Phelan at the time were State Reps. Tony Tinderholt of Arlington, Nate Schatzline of Fort Worth, and (since expelled) Bryan Slaton of Royse City.
Biedermann also voted in favor of House Bill 1280, legislation eventually signed by Abbott that ensured abortion would be prohibited in Texas if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which it did.
HB 1927, a measure making Texas a constitutional carry state, was another measure Biederman supported during the 87th Legislative Session.
Unlike Biedermann’s definite anti-gambling position, Troxclair voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 102, which sought to legalize some sports betting in Texas. The measure later stalled in the State Senate.
However, Troxclair did vote against another gambling expansion measure, House Joint Resolution 155, which attempted to amend the Texas Constitution to legalize casino gambling. It eventually died in the House.
Troxclair also voted in favor of Senate Bill 4, Abbott’s legislation making it a state crime to illegally cross the Mexican border into Texas between ports of entry, and against removing school choice from his education package in November.
The Republican primary election is scheduled for March 5. After the primary, the winning Republican candidate will face off against either Democrat resident Dwain Handley or U.S. Marine veteran Zach Vance.
HD 19 is now a deeply red district after its reconfiguration. Troxclair won it by over 45 percentage points—72.7 percent to 27.3 percent—in 2022.