If Texas is such a red state, why was so much “purple” legislation passed this session? Perhaps it’s because so many Republicans in the Legislature voted so much like their Democratic counterparts, they forgot the color of the team they were on.

Professor Mark Jones, Chairman of the Department of Political Science at Rice University, offered his statistical analysis of the 83rd session in the Texas Tribune not too long ago, explaining what he described as “purple legislation” passing despite having such a “red state” mentality among voters in Texas.

Sadly, his analysis confirms what conservatives have felt all throughout the 83rd Legislature. Good conservative legislation was left in the parliamentary waste-basket, while “bi-partisan” legislation was pushed through.

Why? Because so many were willing to go along with moderate establishment “leadership” rather than stand on conservative convictions.

Despite having a near 2/3 majority in both chambers of the Legislature, it often felt like taxpayers could only rely on about 1/3 of the House (if that) to stand with principle, and only a handful of senators to do the same at any given time.

Some of the worst Republicans in fact voted more like Democrats than Republicans. Out of 95 Republicans in the House, 46 of them scored below a 60 on our Fiscal Responsibility Index. Reps. J.D. Sheffield (R–Gatesville) and John Zerwas (R–Simonton) were so bad, they literally scored worse than a Democrat!

In the Senate, 7 of 19 Republicans scored below a 60, with Sens. Bob Deuell (R–Greenville), Kel Seliger (R–Amarillo) and Robert Duncan (R–Lubbock) scoring worst than the top-rated Democrat.

Considering the fact that there are more Republican failures in the Legislature than Republicans scoring an 80 or above (38 to 34 respectively), it’s no wonder the Legislature produced such poor outcomes.

Here’s a list of all the Republicans below 60 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index. Taxpayers should study it closely between now and next March.


DistrictLegislatorParty2013 Rating
56Anderson, CharlesR58.9
108Branch, DanR58.2
30Morrison, GeanieR56.1
9Paddie, ChrisR55.5
47Workman, PaulR52.9
150Riddle, DebbieR52.9
55Sheffield, RalphR52.3
44Kuempel, JohnR52.2
32Hunter, ToddR51.0
133Murphy, JimR50.6
52Gonzales, LarryR50.5
126Harless, PatriciaR50.2
127Huberty, DanR49.4
11Clardy, TravisR49.3
58Orr, RobR49.1
57Ashby, TrentR48.9
64Crownover, MyraR48.7
114Villalba, JasonR48.1
73Miller, DougR46.9
71King, SusanR46.4
81Lewis, TryonR45.1
134Davis, SarahR44.7
8Cook, ByronR42.0
87Price, FourR41.6
115Ratliff, BennettR41.6
85Stephenson, PhilR39.7
20Farney, MarshaR39.6
122Larson, LyleR39.0
132Callegari, WilliamR39.0
88King, KenR38.6
21Ritter, AllanR37.0
99Geren, CharlieR37.0
94Patrick, DianeR36.7
14Raney, JohnR36.3
54Aycock, Jimmie DonR36.2
72Darby, DrewR35.7
18Otto, JohnR35.5
60Keffer, JimR35.3
12Kacal, KyleR33.6
43Lozano, J.M.R32.9
128Smith, WayneR31.4
10Pitts, JimR29.7
129Davis, JohnR29.7
59Sheffield, J.D.R27.5
28Zerwas, JohnR25.3


DistrictLegislatorParty2013 Rating
4Williams, TommyR59.8
1Eltife, KevinR58.8
3Nichols, RobertR58.7
24Fraser, TroyR55.4
2Deuell, BobR53.1
31Seliger, KelR52.3
28Duncan, RobertR48.8
Dustin Matocha

Dustin Matocha is the CFO and COO of Texas Scorecard. Dustin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Management, a BA in Government, and a minor in Marketing. He’s a self-described Corvette enthusiast, baseball purist, tech geek and growing connoisseur of local craft beer.


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