Religious Liberty, Privacy Act Big Winners in Texas Primary

March 7, 2018

Last night’s Republican Primary Election saw resounding victories for pro-family conservative candidates across Texas. Texas Values Action endorsed candidates who supported religious liberty and the Texas Privacy Act secured victory at the statewide level and overwhelmingly in key House and Senate races.

In a strong rebuke to Texas House’s leadership failure to pass the Texas Privacy Act, Texas GOP voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of Proposition 6 (over 90%) modeled after the Texas Privacy Act. Voters left no doubt that legislation keeping men out of women’s restrooms, showers, and changing areas in public schools and government buildings must be passed next legislative session.

In key statewide races, Texas Values Action endorsed Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick who both easily came out on top over moderate challengers. Lt. Gov. Patrick and Gov. Abbott have been strong supporters of protecting privacy, religious liberty, and life. Their victories will help ensure Texas continues to have strong conservative, pro-family leadership statewide.

In the Texas Senate and House, every Texas Values Action endorsed incumbent that supported the Texas Privacy Act won their election. And in the Texas House, several Texas Values Action endorsed candidates defeated incumbents, won open seats, or are headed to a runoff.

In the most high-profile Texas Senate race, Texas Values Action endorsed Bob Hall defeated moderate challenger Cindy Burkett, 53% – 47%. Burkett was a Texas House member noted for her close support and connection to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. Senator Hall is a proven pro-family conservative leader who has been recognized as a Faith & Family Champion for his strong voting record.

And in another closely watched Senate race, Texas Values Action endorsed Angela Paxton prevailed in an open Texas Senate seat, against Phillip Huffines, 54% – 46%. Angela Paxton is a well-known, pro-family conservative leader in Texas.

Texas Values Action endorsed Donna Campbell and Joan Huffman, who both voted for the Texas Privacy Act, easily defeated moderate challengers in their Texas Senate races.

In one of the most high-profile Texas House races, Texas Values Action endorsed challenger Lisa Luby Ryan defeated three-term incumbent Jason Villalba, 53% – 47%. Villalba was one of the most vocal opponents of the Texas Privacy Act, and one of two House Republicans to vote against HB 3859, a religious freedom bill to protect conscience rights of faith-based adoption agencies that was signed into law by Gov. Abbott in 2017. Villalba was also the only Republican to vote for two LGBT priority bills.

The current House seats held by outgoing Speaker Joe Straus and State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook, who both helped kill the Texas Privacy Act, are headed to runoffs. Texas Values Action endorsed Matt Beebe is in the runoff to replace Straus and Texas Values Action endorsed Thomas McNutt is in the runoff to replace Cook. Both Beebe and McNutt are strong advocates for religious liberty and protecting privacy.

Other Texas Values Action endorsed candidates headed to runoffs include Stuart Spitzer in HD 4, Jill Wolfskill in HD 13, Brent Lawson in HD 62, and Deanna Metzger in HD 107.

And in another key House victory, Texas Values Action endorsed candidate Jonathan Boos prevailed outright in the Texas House seat vacated by Cindy Burkett in a 3-way race.

A final set of important races in the Texas House include victories for every Texas Freedom Caucus member with a moderate challenger, with Texas Values Action endorsed Matt Schaefer, Mike Lang, Kyle Biedermann and Valoree Swanson all easily winning.

Overall, Tuesday’s primary election results left no doubt that Texans support protecting religious liberty and privacy. The Texas Senate, under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Patrick is poised to continue its leadership promoting a conservative, pro-family agenda, and the Texas House is clearly continuing its trend in a more conservative, pro-family direction.

The May 22 Runoff Election is set to provide even more opportunities for gains in the Texas House for religious liberty and privacy supporting candidates. It is our job to continue to build momentum for faith, family, and freedom as we head toward the May 22 Runoff and then on to the November General Election.

A special thanks to our friends at Family Policy Alliance (FPA) and FRC Action for partnering with us specifically during this very important Texas election cycle. Their leadership and presence is key to protecting faith and family in Texas.

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