Joe Straus Loses Major Allies In Texas Republican Primary

While the three tea party incumbents who were being challenged by establishment politicians won big, liberal-leaning Republicans closest to House Speaker Joe Straus lost in race after race this week.

Defeated Straus incumbents include State Rep. Lance Gooden in House District 4, Diane Patrick in HD94, Linda Harper-Brown in HD105, Bennett Ratliff in HD115, and Ralph Sheffield in HD55.

Straus lieutenant Jim Keffer of HD60 did manage to hold on to his seat, but only after spending more than $750,000 and losing in the population center of the district.

The key defensive races in the Texas House were those of State Reps. Charles Perry of Lubbock, Jonathan Stickland of Bedford and Matt Schaefer of Tyler. All three were heavily challenged by big-monied, Austin-based lobby interests. Their win-margins ranged from Perry’s 75% to Schaefer’s 61%.

Stickland and Schaefer were the biggest targets of the Austin political establishment. Along with other Austin-based lobby organizations, the Texas Association of Realtors spent heavily, and unsuccessfully, seeking to unseat both of the conservatives on behalf of the Straus leadership team.

Stickland won with 65% of the vote, while Schaefer earned 61%.

In open-seat races, conservatives saw wins on both sides of the state. In Galveston County, insurance agent Wayne Faircloth beat establishment-backed Bob Senter 66%-34%. In the Republican-stronghold of Montgomery County, Mark Keough beat Bruce Tough by 14 points. Meanwhile, Odessa Republican Brooks Landgraf beat Austin Keith, 58 to 41 percent.

Distinguished Army veteran Tony Tinderholt had the biggest margin of victory for a conservative challenger by defeating liberal-leaning Diane Patrick by an 11-point margin in Tarrant County’s HD94.

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