Freshman State Rep. Marva Beck is in a pitched battle to retain her seat in HD57, being challenged in the GOP primary by Lufkin ISD school board president Trent Ashby. Both have their weaknesses. (TFR has not endorsed in the race.)

Rep. Beck of Centerville rode the 2010 anti-Obama wave into the legislature to defeat arch-Democrat Jim Dunnam.

State Rep. Marva Beck

She did so by heavily courting the grassroots help of tea party leaders. In response, she was the first of freshmen to endorse embattled Speaker Joe Straus for re-election — less than a day after the polls closed — and over the objections of her supporters.

Right or wrong, many of the hometown, grassroots activists who carried her over the finish-line took the Straus-endorsement rather personally. This cycle, they are staying home, leaving Beck to fend for herself. Is her loyalty to Team Straus being repaid in this election?

Her GOP opponent is Trent Ashby, who has spent several years on the Lufkin school board. He has developed a predictable record of hiking spending, bonded indebtedness and the corresponding tax hikes. In 2010, the district was spending $11,510 per child — up from the $7,605 per child when he went on the board in 2007.

In a dust-up this week, Beck accused Ashby of raising taxes.

Trent Ashby

Ashby’s school board friends fought back, saying it was merely to accommodate the bond package passed by “70 percent” the school district’s voters. (Sounds impressive, save the fact that it is 70 percent of the very small number of voters who actually participated in that election.)

Ashby once worked for Democratic US Rep. Jim Turner, and has been endorsed by the liberal Parent PAC.

Rep. Beck scored a “B” on the Fiscal Responsibility Index — putting her only in the category of ‘average’ among Republicans. Nothing bad, but nothing to stand out in a crowd.

With her “B” rating, Rep. Beck was one of the lowest-performing freshmen on the Index. She found herself straddling the fence between being the conservative she campaigned as, and being in league with the moderate leadership she signed up with.

In the remaining days of the campaign, maybe Marva is hoping Joe Straus will ride in on a white horse and save the day. Better — and maybe just as likely — would be for Beck to quickly make-up with her local conservatives and give them a reason to push her over the finish-line once again.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."