Conservatives in Senate District 9 have a clearly distinct choice this spring with the match-up between proven-conservative Kelly Hancock and low-performing lackey Todd Smith. Both men have established records as members of the Texas House. That’s good for Mr. Hancock, and bad for Mr. Smith.

TFR Endorsee Kelly Hancock

Hancock, who earned our endorsement, is the solid conservative and a signer of the Taxpayer Pledge. He earned the distinction of Taxpayer Advocate for his B+ score on our Fiscal Responsibility Index during the 82nd Session and was named a “Taxpayer Champion” for his high performance in 2009.

Smith, on the other-hand, has constantly underperformed on conservative scorecards, earning no higher than a C+ on our scorecard and spot in the bottom 10% of Republicans on the Young Conservatives of Texas ratings.  He has yet to sign the Taxpayer Pledge.

One of the biggest differences between the two legislators became apparent during the fight to protect the Rainy Day Fund last session. Hancock never wavered in his stance against reckless drawdowns of the state’s savings account, but Smith voted twice to drain the fund, including automatically spending an extra $2 billion of the fund during the special session. That earned him the nickname “Rainy Day Republican.”

But Smith’s big-spending high-tax affinities shouldn’t be any surprise if you were paying attention during the 81st Session.

Moderate Lackey Todd Smith

Then, Smith voted to increase spending on cradle-to-grave entitlements like government-funded Pre-K programs. He also supported higher gas taxes and has done nothing to address gas tax diversions.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg of poor legislation from Mr. Smith. The Northeast Tarrant County Tea Party has put together an extensive laundry list of bad votes he’s cast throughout his career.

Before the Friday deadline, it appeared residents of SD 9 had a tough decision to make. The San Antonio Court’s final redistricting maps had pitted both Rodney Anderson and Kelly Hancock, two conservative members of the Texas House, against each other. Originally, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Hancock were prepared to run in Senate District 9 and Senate District 10, respectively.

Todd Smith, the more moderate of the three, had hinted he was interested in running for Senate as well, but wavered before finally throwing his hat in the ring before the Friday filing deadline passed. Taxpayers would have been stuck with choosing between two solid conservatives, potentially opening a path for Rep. Smith to capitalize on a fragmented vote.

But at the last second, Anderson decided to pull out of the race and forego seeking another term in public office. While it’s disappointing to see a conservative leader like Anderson leave the Legislature after only one term, it does make the choice in SD 9 much more clear.


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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.