In the Texas House, they’re seen as lobbyists. In the Senate, they sit at the press table.
It’s become a common scene in the Texas Legislature. A bill comes up for a vote — caps on property tax rates, maybe, or a referendum on “sanctuary cities” — and a text goes out. Lawmakers are told they will be graded on this one, and low marks, they know, could launch a primary challenge from the right.
The sender, the scorekeeper and the eventual challenger is often Empower Texans, a Tea Party-aligned group formed in 2006 with millions in oil money that has worked to replace moderate Republicans with hardline conservatives. For the last decade-plus, the organization and its PAC — which blur the bright lines between newsroom, lobbying firm and political action committee — have aimed, with on-againoff-again success, to upend the Texas political scene, with pricey primary challenges, by-the-minute scorecards of lawmakers’ votes and a lawsuit aimed at gutting a state agency.
Read the entire story on the e-Edition of our newspaper. http://www.etypeservices.com/Advance%20News%20JournalID455/