A bronze star winner for his heroism in the military, Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) earned accolades as well for his service this session in the legislature. Tinderholt was ranked as one of the five most conservative representatives, and earned the taxpayer champion award with a 100 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index. Unfortunately, some in the Republican party establishment are trying to replace him with a liberal.

Andrew Piel, a liberal Republican, has taken aim at Tinderholt in hopes of unseating him.

Piel has served on several boards connected with the Arlington business community. He was a member of the Arlington Government Relations Advisory Council in 2011 when the council approved a legislative agenda calling for Texas to embrace the Obamacare Medicaid expansion and to increase the gas tax. After the session, the council’s minutes record Piel asking “how Medicaid fared during the previous session.”

In online comments, Piel agreed with liberal columnist Bud Kennedy when he advocated Republican support for gay marriage, marijuana legalization, and amnesty for illegal aliens, calling Kennedy’s arguments “valid points.” Kennedy wrote:

It’s not about technology. If it were, Texas D’s would be doing better. All Republicans have to do to win again nationally is start liking some of the 3 M’s: marriage equality, marijuana and Mexico. All Texas Democrats have to do to win again is go back to liking the 2 G’s: gun enthusiasts and God.

Piel responded:

@Bud, I agree, it’s not ALL about technology, but technology can make a real difference, especially on the critical margins. And broadly, you have some valid points on the 3 Ms & 2 Gs.

In his online activity, Piel has also attacked whistleblowing UT Regent Wallace Hall, calling his motives impure and comparing his methods to “a bull in a china shop.” He has also praised disgraced UT President Bill Powers and defended the referral to the Travis County DA of criminal charges against Hall by House Speaker Joe Straus.

Andrew Piel is one of several liberal Republicans taking aim at the most conservative members of the House this cycle.

Rather than targeting the most liberal Republican legislators for abandoning and working against their own party’s platform, it is a shame that some in the party establishment are instead targeting conservatives who have delivered to voters exactly what they promised.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.


5/28/24 Runoff Election Night in Texas!

- Beware of Politicians’ phony ‘reforms’. - Texas GOP passes new rule to close Primaries from Democrat influence. - Abraham George was elected as Chair of the Texas GOP.