A political action committee targeting “corrupt” Texas House leadership is applauding Gov. Greg Abbott’s move against Republican Rep. Sarah Davis.
Abbott endorsed Susanna Dokupil, the first in what will be a series of announcements supporting conservative candidates.
“We need leaders in Austin who will join me to build a better future for Texas,” the governor said in his endorsement statement.
The New Leadership PAC, which plans to issue $100,000 bounties to oust a dozen yet-to-be-identified House members aligned with retiring Speaker Joe Straus, amplified Abbott’s criticism of Davis.
“Davis doesn’t represent her district, she represents the special-interest lobby. She typifies the corrupt culture of the current House leadership,” said NLP treasurer Don Dyer.
“We absolutely agree with the governor and support his endorsement,” Dyer told The Texas Monitor. He declined to say if Davis was on NLP’s “Dirty Dozen” hit list, or what financial support Dokupil might expect from the PAC.
The CEO of Paladin Strategies, a Houston communications firm, Dokupil was Abbott’s assistant solicitor general while he was Texas attorney general. She handled religious liberty issues for the office.
Davis, a four-term lawmaker from Houston’s West University Place, joined Straus in opposing Abbott on a number of issues during the 2017 session, including the so-called bathroom bill.
A key player on the House leadership team, Davis was appointed by Straus to chair the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee. She also sits on two of the House’s most powerful panels: the Appropriations and Calendars committees.
In the run-up to the special session, Davis, along with Democratic legislators, chided Abbott on the need for ethics reform. It was an ironic turn, given that Abbott assailed Straus and his lieutenants for blocking ethics legislation, calling their tactics “reprehensible” and “shameful.”
This year, House leadership killed several key initiatives supported by the governor, including property tax relief, deregulation for small businesses, and school choice. The continued House blockade prompted Abbott to look ahead to 2018, declaring, “That’s why elections matter.”
Straus, who announced he will not run for re-election in his San Antonio district, has more than $10 million in unspent campaign cash — money he could use to support his allies facing contested primaries.
Last month, Davis downplayed attempts to beat her at the polls.
“I have faced challengers funded by outsiders, extremists and people who don’t share the values of my district. I will stand on [my] record,” she told The Texas Monitor.