Empower Texans had a bad week.
The result of the rest of us is that Texas voters — primarily Republican primary voters — had a good week. That means Texas had a good week.
Empower Texans is a right-wing advocacy group that lowered its sights on a number of incumbents around the state. State Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo was one of them. Seliger managed to fend off a GOP primary challenge and skate to virtual re-election to another term; he does face a Libertarian challenger in the fall, but don’t bet the mortgage on Seliger losing that one.
Empower Texans — led by Michael Quinn Sullivan (pictured) — believes Republicans and other conservatives need to toe a strictly drawn line. It is based downstate, yet it poured lots of money into the far reaches of the vast state. The Panhandle got its taste of Empower Texans’ penchant for distortion and outright lies.
Seliger survived. So did state Rep. Four Price, another Amarillo Republican, who thumped challenger Drew Brassfield by about a thousand percentage points in the race for House District 87, which Price has represented well since 2011.
The Texas Tribune reports: “The forces of extremism, like Empower Texans … overplayed their hand, turned voters off and experienced significant losses in the March primaries,” said GOP consultant Eric Bearse, who helped (state Rep. Sarah) Davis and three other candidates win amid an onslaught from Empower and other critics. “It started to become clear in some of these races that it really was a choice between our local representative and someone who is wholly owned by outside groups and outside money.”
I love the irony of that assessment.
Conservatives are supposed relish local control over the interests of others. Isn’t that what they say?
Yet we have Empower Texans tossing that dogma out the window with its strong-arming of political discussion with money and power that derives from some centrally located source.
Seliger and Price — along with a host of other Texas incumbents — were able to persuade sufficient numbers of Texans to see through this sham.
It’s bad for Empower Texans. Good for the rest of us.