State Rep. J.D. Sheffield (R-Stephenville) is being asked by his opponent to run as a Democrat. With the most liberal voting record in the Republican caucus, Sheffield was often voting against conservatives and with the Democrats.
His challenger in House District 59’s Republican primary, Brent Graves, sent a letter on September 1 asking Sheffield to formally file for re-election as a Democrat:
“If you were to choose to file as a Democrat I believe we could offer all voters in HD59 a clearer choice of candidates based on their personal political preferences versus the stark contrast that we will otherwise present only to Republican primary voters. At present your views on the 2nd Amendment, life, immigration, healthcare, taxes, and overall liberty do not align with the Republican Party platforms. These platforms were established by the most recent RPT or RNC conventions, neither of which you attended.”
Sheffield scored a 51 and a 52 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index in 2015 and 2013, respectively, making him the lowest performing Republican in the legislature. Sheffield was also the second-most liberal Republican according to Dr. Mark Jones’ Rice University study.
Obviously, running as a Republican is politically expedient — which is exactly why Sheffield masquerades as one, even though his tenure is pockmarked with liberal votes. He falsely claims to have “defended our second amendment rights” on his campaign website, although he was the only member of the Republican caucus to vote against SB 11—campus carry. He also claims to be a “Pro-Life Champion,” another untruth that has been thoroughly debunked by Texas Right to Life.
In fact, Sheffield’s record has been so liberal that he didn’t even receive acknowledgement from the Texas Conservative Coalition, a group comprised entirely of Republican legislators which exists purely to provide political cover for its members through vacuous accolades and labels. Of course, this is simply so that their membership has something to point to during their campaigns; but in Sheffield’s case, even their own self-grading aggrandizement mechanism couldn’t muster the kind of intellectual dishonesty required to call him a conservative.
But maybe that’s just because he’s never truly been a Republican at all.