As over-taxed citizens across the nation are fleeing their oppressive, leftist-controlled cities and coming to “brighter lands” in the Lone Star State, many Texans are concerned the wave of new migrants—particularly Californians—will bring that same destruction here.

Texas Scorecard sought out more answers, especially ahead of the important statewide primary election in March.

Who’s coming, and how are they voting?

“Don’t California My Texas” was a popular recent campaign slogan referencing migrants who leave their liberal cities for the Lone Star State but still vote for those same liberal policies (high taxes, unaffordable government spending sprees) once they’re here.

However, a recent poll by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies revealed some insight on the California exodus. (700,000 Californians have migrated to Texas since 2010.)

“Politicians in high-tax states claim that taxes don’t drive people out, but their constituents disagree: in the Berkeley poll, 58 percent of those considering leaving California said that high taxes were one reason—second only to the 71 percent pointing to the state’s astronomical housing costs. Also high on the list of reasons to go was the state’s political culture, which nearly half of those thinking of getting out cited as a consideration,” wrote City Journal.

“What set the Berkeley poll apart is that it also asked residents their party affiliation and how they characterized themselves politically—revealing a sharp divide. Conservatives and moderates are the most unhappy with the state and most anxious to leave. Liberals, by contrast, are mostly staying put, and some think life in California is just great. Only 38 percent of Democrats said that they were considering leaving, compared with 55 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans.”

Similarly, those characterizing themselves as “somewhat liberal” were least likely to say that they want to go—fewer than four in ten are considering leaving. But 53 percent of moderates, 66 percent of the “somewhat conservative,” and 74 percent of the “very conservative” would like to migrate. Political affiliation, in fact, was more of a predictor of who wants to go or stay than other demographic information, such as race.

“We hear a lot about Californians coming to Texas with their liberal values, but both anecdote and the little data we have suggest that registered voters who move to Texas from California tend to be more Republicans and conservatives, on average,” said Josh Blank, research director of the Texas Politics Project.

“Those moving here are voting Republican by a 60-to-40 split,” said Paul Chabot, a California expat and founder of the Keep Texas Red Political Action Committee.

“Some of the Californians that are moving are political refugees. Some of the people going to Austin, the tech people, they’re bringing the [liberal] political DNA with them. But you also have Californians fleeing [Governor] Gavin Newsom and California policies,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Houston’s Rice University.

Matt Rinaldi, a former state representative and current chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, agreed.

“The Californians and other outsiders moving to Texas are the ones keeping Texas red,” said Rinaldi. “I’ll get a lot of emails from people who will say, ‘I’m from California and I’m thinking of moving. What’s a good district where I’ll have good representation?’ They’re actually shopping.”

The real problem

Lifelong Californian and recent Texas transplant Alex, who wished to remain anonymous for this article, told Texas Scorecard that while the Golden State’s elected officials have certainly enacted harmful policies on citizens—such as suffocating taxes, “defund the police” campaigns, lawless public homeless camps, legalized smash-and-grab robberies, pornographic and racist curriculum in schools, and forced vaccinations—Texas’ officials have also created a mess for citizens here.

“Texas is famous for having no income tax, but what newly arrived Californians realize in the first 12 months of being here are the property taxes—they’re incredibly high,” Alex said. “In some ways, we’re a little disappointed in Texas. It has not turned out to be the conservative bedrock place we thought it would be.”

Alex also mentioned the corruption among the state’s top officials—specifically, Speaker of the House Dade Phelan and Gov. Greg Abbott—who have repeatedly refused to enact Republican priorities into state law. Texas Scorecard has chronicled the still-unaddressed issues of border security, property taxes, child mutilation experiments, women’s sports protections, vaccine mandates, and others.

“Speaker Phelan seems to be worse than a RINO. It’s hard to figure out; there seem to be a lot of people elected as Republicans who are not really Republicans,” Alex said. “I wouldn’t even call them RINOs. I would say they’re Democrats in every way, but they’ve calculated out the [re-election] numbers and figured they’ve got to call themselves Republican.”

“You know, when you’re outside the state looking in, the image of Texas is conservative, law and order, a state that doesn’t have time for political correctness, and where our governor basically might as well be [Florida Gov.] Ron DeSantis. Well, that’s not the truth,” Alex concluded.

“Texas is turning our own citizens blue.”

Media personality and grassroots activist Kambree Nelson, a native Texan who lived in California for several years, recently expounded on the same issues.

“When I came back to Texas, I was shocked,” she recently told podcast host Luke Macias.

“I never expected to move back home and fight Republicans. … Seriously, the news didn’t tell me, nothing on social media told me about what was going on in Texas. I turned on local news, and they weren’t even talking about it whatsoever.”

Nelson mentioned Gov. Abbott’s shutdowns, racist ideologies taught at state government departments, concerned parents arrested at school board meetings, child genital mutilation experiments that are still legal, and racist and pornographic curriculum in public schools.

The country has no idea still to this day what is going on in the state of Texas; we shock people every single day with what we tweet and what we post.

“Texas is turning our own citizens blue,” Macias told Nelson. “So we actually indoctrinate our own children in the K-12 system, and then we have woke universities, which we fund and give pay raises to, and hire a bunch of woke professors who then turn our college kids into leftists. … So, my view is California transplants are like the reinforcements that we need, because our institutions are turning our own people against the Texas way of life.”

Nelson emphasized the importance of local government positions—mayors, city councils, school boards, county commissioners—because those are the under-the-radar spots where leftist ideologies and policies can more easily infiltrate communities.

“[Leftists] start at the mayoral race. And that’s how they start flipping. … And I know people that don’t want to get involved in politics, but you have to initially get involved and get some awareness of what’s going on around you,” Nelson said. “Because before you know it, you’re going to be faced with something, and you’re going to have to make a decision [of] whether you’re going to sit back and let stuff happen in your community or [if] you’re going to take a stand and you’re going to say. ‘Enough.’ Because if you catch it early enough, you can stop it.”

Early voting in the statewide primary begins February 14, with Election Day on March 1.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.