In the final hours leading up to the primary runoff elections in Texas, liberal teacher unions and their affiliates are throwing last-minute cash to bolster their chosen candidates against conservative opposition.

In doing so, they are teaming up with Gov. Greg Abbott, who has in recent weeks ramped up his rhetoric in support of school choice legislation in Texas. 

Barron Casteel, who is running against Carrie Isaac for House District 73, has received more than $46,000 in recent days from groups including the Association of Texas Professional Educators, the Texas State Teachers Association, the Texas Classroom Teachers Association, and the Charles Butt Public Education political action committee (founded by the heir to the H-E-B supermarket chain). For years, the billionaire has bankrolled efforts against conservatives in the Republican primary and has funded Democrats in general elections, under the guise of being pro-public education. 

These groups have long opposed school choice and other forms of education reform, even as parents continue to discover pornographic material and critical race theory being promulgated in public schools. 

HD 73 is not the only race where the last-minute boost of money has come into play.

In House District 60, incumbent State Rep. Glenn Rogers (R–Mineral Wells) has received nearly $35,000 from the same public education special interest groups in his race for re-election against conservative activist Mike Olcott.

In House District 12, incumbent State Rep. Kyle Kacal (R–Bryan) has received nearly $48,000 from the organizations in his campaign against challenger Ben Bius. Kacal has been rated on numerous legislative rankings as the most liberal Republican in the Texas House. 

In House District 19, Justin Berry boasts $31,000 in recent donations from the liberal education groups in his run against Ellen Troxclair.

Despite his recent statements in support of school choice in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has endorsed all four of these candidates, while U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has endorsed their opponents.

Corey DeAngelis, the national director of research at the American Federation for Children, says the groups supporting these candidates are at odds with Republican voters.

“Backing by anti-parent teachers unions should be the kiss of death for any politician, especially Republicans, after the past two years. School choice is on the Republican Party platform in Texas and nationally,”  DeAngelis told Texas Scorecard. “At this point, school choice is as much as (if not more) a line-in-the-sand issue for Republicans as being pro-life. In fact, 88 percent of Texas Republican primary voters support school choice according to the 2022 ballot proposition, which is higher than the level of support for the pro-life proposition.”

“The only way to truly secure parental rights in education is to fund students directly and empower families to choose,” he added.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens