The Texas House Freedom Caucus will go unscathed, as the four members opposed in the Republican primary election have sailed through to victory Tuesday night.
Formed in the first weeks of the legislative session last year, the caucus, which consists of twelve conservative house members, quickly began winning victories for conservatives, such as strengthening the sanctuary city bill, helping to force a special session, and moving to change the Republican caucus bylaws to nominate a speaker candidate in caucus–a change to which many attribute the retirement of Speaker Joe Straus.
Despite the Austin establishment’s best attempts to field challengers to all twelve members, only four received opponents in the primary, with all of their liberal challengers being defeated.
State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler,) who chairs the caucus, defeated a challenge by Ted Kamel, who formerly served in the legislature during the 90’s. Kamel’s campaign failed to gain traction against Schaefer whose conservative record led the taxpayer champion to a resounding victory.
State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R–Fredericksburg) fended off a challenge from Fredericksburg ISD School Board member Dave Campbell. Despite a large amount of cash in Campbell’s campaign, as well as the support of establishment groups like Texas Association of Business and Texas Farm Bureau, Biedermann ran on his pro-taxpayer agenda. A freshman legislator, Biedermann defeated former State Rep. Doug Miller in a runoff election in 2016 to earn the seat.
Fellow freshman member Valoree Swanson (R–Spring) also easily defended her seat from establishment forces in the form of perennial candidate James Wilson. Despite having a checkered background, including a foreclosure just last year, Wilson received the support of the Texas Association of Business, who endorsed the liberal challenger because of the Swanson’s support of the ban on sanctuary cities and support of privacy legislation. Swanson defeated incumbent State Rep. Debbie Riddle in 2016.
Lastly, despite the liberal education lobby’s fawning over Granbury ISD Superintendent Jim Largent, State Rep. Mike Lang (R–Granbury) avoided a runoff, winning the three person race that also included Gregory Risse. Largent ran a liberal campaign, publicly opposing conservative priorities like property tax reform, ending in-state tuition for illegal aliens, and pro-gun legislation. His outright opposition to the Republican platform led to resolutions of no confidence against Largent passed in, not only one, but two counties in the district.
With additional victories across the state by conservative candidates, it appears the Freedom Caucus will be growing its ranks when the legislature reconvenes in 2019, a tangible sign of continued victory for grassroots across the state.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Managing 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

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