Senators aren’t RINOs

Robert Nichols and Kelly Hancock already have been labeled Republicans In Name Only by the Ken Paxton acolytes who are angry at the state senators for voting their conscience in the just-completed Senate impeachment trial of the formerly suspended attorney general.

Sens. Nichols and Hancock did what they felt was the right thing to do, which was vote to convict Paxton on the impeachment articles tossed onto senators’ laps by the overwhelming House majority that impeached him for misconduct of his office.

I would laugh out loud at the notion that Nichols and Hancock are RINOs, except that it isn’t a funny accusation to make. Hancock, from Tarrant County, is considered one of the more conservative members of the Senate; Nichols, who hails from Jacksonville, isn’t far behind.

And yet … the Paxton crowd is going to tar these men for agreeing with their fellow House Republicans that Paxton committed misdeeds worthy of him getting tossed from office.

This signals arguably the start of a sort of “civil war” among the MAGA wing of the Texas GOP and the rest of the Republicans in the Legislature. The MAGA wing won the argument when the Senate acquitted Paxton and allowed him to return to work.

Nichols and Hancock aren’t up for re-election until 2026, which might explain why they showed the backbone missing among their Republican colleagues. Perhaps they see tempers cooling enough until the 2026 GOP primary season kicks into high gear.

Whatever. Neither man is a RINO, period. Given the state of the Republican Party these days, the RINO label just might stick to them.

That would be a shame.