After years of rumors and speculation, State Sen. Robert Duncan (R–Lubbock) will soon become the chancellor of Texas Tech University. As one of the most liberal Republicans in the senate, Duncan’s departure opens the door for a more conservative successor in SD 28, something all Texans should take interest in.
Texas Tech University Board of Regents issued a press release yesterday announcing Sen. Duncan as the sole finalist for the chancellor position, replacing current chancellor Kent Hance who announced his retirement in October of last year. Duncan is expected to begin officially in his new role on July 1.
Sen. Duncan first became a member of the Texas House in 1993 before moving to the other side of the Capitol in 1996. His current term was not set to expire until 2017.
During his time in Austin, Sen. Duncan amassed a truly RINO-like legislative rating according to the Young Conservatives of Texas, earning a lifetime rating of 54 on their scorecard.
His recent grades on the Fiscal Responsibility Index have not been any better. Sen. Duncan has failed every Index since its inception in 2007, with the exception of 2011 when he earned a C-. In 2013, Duncan scored a 48.8 out of 100, the lowest of any Senate Republican, putting him lower than three Democrats and only five points higher than Democratic Senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis.
Three of Duncan’s bad votes this session include voting to increase state spending 26 percent since the last legislative session, endangering the state’s credit rating by drawing down $6 Billion from the Rainy Day Fund for on-going expenditures, and the infamous SB 346 donor intimidation bill that Governor Perry vetoed over concerns about its “chilling effect on free speech.”
Duncan’s departure now opens the door for taxpayers to move the senate even further right. State Rep. Charles Perry (R–Lubbock) has indicated he’s interested in running for the seat now open in SD 28. Rep. Perry was a Taxpayer Champion in 2011—his first term as a state representative—and earned a B on the 2013 Fiscal Responsibility Index.
Rep. Perry currently serves on the House Transparency Committee – the one tasked with investigating University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall for his efforts to uncover corruption between politicians and the administration at the state’s flagship university. Perry has thus far been the lone voice of reason during questioning and was the only “no” vote on whether the committee should move forward with the impeachment proceedings.
The opportunity to improve the Senate by flipping SD 28 from a virtual Democrat to a principled conservative is one taxpayers should not pass up. The Senate has already taken a big step to the right with the victory of Don Huffines over incumbent Senator John Carona (R – Dallas) and could take another step in that direction if Dan Patrick, Konni Burton, and Bob Hall are successful in their respective primary runoffs this next Tuesday.
Taxpayers will need all the help they can get from their Senate if Speaker Straus and company are still in control of the House come January.