From the InBox:
Dear Precinct Chairs,
As you may be aware, a resolution censuring me is set to be voted on at tomorrow’s Executive Committee Meeting at the HCRP Headquarters. I have attached a copy of the resolution for your reference. Also attached is a response to the resolution signed by many precinct chairs, grassroots activists, and community leaders.
I thank you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. You can call or text me at 713-xxx-xxxx, or e-mail me at this address.
Proposed Resolution to Censure Rep. Davis:
Censure of Representative Sarah Davis
Whereas: During her career as a State Representative, Sarah Davis of West University Place has consistently held herself out as a fiscal conservative, despite having, in the 85th Session which concluded in August, the most left-wing voting record of any Republican in the Texas House according to several prominent rankings (including Rice University, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, and Young Conservatives of Texas); and,
Whereas: Rule No. 44 adopted the Republican Party of Texas sets forth a process for the censure of a Republican office holder by his or her county Executive Committee, and allows for the State Republican Executive Committee to impose penalties; and,
Whereas: To do this, the Executive Committee must demonstrate that that office holder has committed at least three actions in opposition to the core principles of the Republican Party of Texas, as defined in the Texas Republican Party Platform; and,
Whereas: During the previous biennium, Sarah Davis has broken several of the ten core Republican principles adopted at the 2016 RPT Convention, including:
- “The sanctity of innocent human life, created in the image of God, should be protected from fertilization to natural death.” Representative Davis is openly pro-abortion, and has voted against the pro-life movement in every controversial vote before the House. Notable examples were voting against SB8, which contained a dismemberment abortion ban, voting against HB13, which required additional reporting of complications during abortions, and voting against budget amendments that forbade Planned Parenthood from receiving taxpayer dollars.
- “Personal accountability and responsibility.” Representative Davis’s legislative record betrays a fear of personal responsibility that is unparalleled among Republican office holders. From her sponsorship of several bills and amendments to remove parental consent for vaccinations, to her vote for a mental health insurance mandate, to her vote in favor of a texting-while-driving ban, Rep. Davis has consistently abetted the paternalistic overreach of government into private lives and decisions.
- “Having an educated population, with parents having the freedom of choice for the education of their children.” Representative Davis voted against school choice measures that were brought before the House. In a floor vote, she voted for a Democratic amendment to forbid any appropriations for school choice programs in SB1. No other opportunities for school choice made it to the floor for a vote, due to the influence of Speaker Joe Straus, who Rep. Davis has steadfastly supported.
- “A free enterprise society unencumbered by government interference or subsidies.” Representative Davis voted against conference instructions that would have defunded the Texas Enterprise and the Film & Music Marketing funds, both of which are corporate welfare. She also voted to extend subsidies to NASCAR and voted for the “taproom bill,” which has added needless bureaucracy and fees to Houston’s craft brewing industry.
Be it resolved: That in light of the Representative’s far-left voting record and public statements, the Harris County Republican Party wishes to convey its disapproval of Representative Sarah Davis by a vote to censure her under RPT Rule No. 44; and,
Be it resolved: That the Harris County Republican Party requests for the State Republican Executive Committee to concur with this resolution, and to declare that no rule or bylaw enacted by any division of the Party at any level that demands the Party be neutral in intraparty contests shall be observed with respect to Sarah Davis, and that no financial or other support shall be provided to her campaign by the Party except that which is required by law; and,
Be it resolved: That a copy of this resolution shall be transmitted electronically to the Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, and to all members of the State Republican Executive Committee, within five (5) calendar days of its passage.
Scott Bowen – Senate District 11 Chairman
Rolando Garcia – Senate District 15 Chairman
Steven K. Howell, Precinct 039
Darrell Nelms, Precinct 200
Josh Flynn, Precinct 407
Larry Korkmas, Precinct 492
Herbert Anderson, Precinct 052
Rudy Fonseca, Precinct 596
Tiffany Patenaude, Precinct 673
Response from Rep. Sarah Davis:
Dear Republican Friend,
A draft censure resolution targeting Rep. Sarah Davis’s record has been circulated for consideration at the November 13 HCRP Executive Committee meeting. As a grassroots leader, you deserve to know the facts, principally that the resolution is based on a highly deceptive scorecard put together by a fringe group in Austin. The group claims Rep. Davis cast liberal votes. As you will see below, the truth is this is a fake smear job that, if pursued, would call for us to censuring roughly half the Republican delegation from Harris County, along with Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Patrick.
Under the heading of “Personal accountability and responsibility” the resolution claims Davis has strayed from the party platform related to “parental consent for vaccinations.” There is no mention of vaccinations whatsoever in the 2016 party platform. Rep. Davis has not “authored several bills that affect parental consent for a minor to receive a vaccination” as the resolution wrongly states. She authored one bill that allows certain minors to consent to cancer-preventing vaccines. She authored one amendment that sought to allow children in the foster care system to receive cancer-preventing vaccines. Davis’ amendment was in response to an amendment that would have prohibited children in the foster care system from receiving any vaccines at all! In no way did Rep. Davis’ amendment violate our party platform.
Relying on the Texans for Fiscal Responsibility “scorecard,” an organization affiliated with special interest group Empower Texans (ET), the censure resolution cites Rep Davis’ vote for a “mental health insurance mandate.” But 90 percent of the Texas House agreed with Rep. Davis and voted with her. Joining Davis in voting for this bill were Harris County Republican House members Roberts, Huberty, Paul, Oliverson, Murphy, Elkins, and Bohac. The conservative Senate, let by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, passed this legislation, and it was signed into law by conservative Governor Greg Abbott. But somehow Rep Davis, alone, is to be censured as voting liberal?
Further, the resolution refers to Rep Davis’ “vote in favor of a life-saving texting-while-driving ban.” Is this a liberal vote? The bill was authored by the first Republican Speaker of the House in over 100 years, Rep. Tom Craddick, and it passed the conservative Senate, led by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and our conservative Governor Greg Abbott signed into law. If the bill is liberal, why is only Rep. Davis to be censured? What about Gov. Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, Fmr. Speaker Craddock and all the other Republican House members who voted in favor of it?
Under the category of “Having an educated population, with parents having the freedom of choice for the education of their children,” the resolution misleadingly attacks Rep. Davis on one vote, while ignoring the fact she voted twice to protect an important form of school choice– local charter schools. In fact, the vote in question – requiring public dollars be spent on public schools – does not eliminate parental choice. In fact, parents have a myriad of choices today, including their local brick-and-mortar public school, charter schools, virtual schools, home schools, and private and parochial schools. The bill did not limit those choices.
Under “Free enterprise unencumbered by government interference or subsidies,” resolution writers misleadingly refer to a procedural motion to require House budget conferees to advocate for defunding Gov. Abbott’s Texas Enterprise Fund (which was created by conservative Governor Rick Perry.) Rep. Davis voted with 106 other members against this non-binding motion. But on the vote to actually defund the Texas Enterprise Fund, Rep. Davis voted for it. The scorecard misleadingly attacks Rep. Davis for a non-substantive procedural vote, though she voted for the bill on the substantive vote on the House floor. Davis was joined in voting no on the procedural motion by Reps Roberts, Paul, Oliverson, Schofield, Elkins, and Bohac. Shouldn’t they to be censured too?
On the “NASCAR vote” mentioned in the resolution, the bill simply adds NASCAR events to similar events for which local governments hosting “Major Event” may apply for event assistance funds from the already existing Major Events Reimbursement Program. Prior to this vote, major events such as the Super Bowl, rodeo and livestock shows, national party conventions and major presidential debates were already eligible to apply. This vote simply added NASCAR to the list of eligible events! Rep. Davis was joined by Reps. Roberts, Huberty, Paul, Oliverson, Schofield, Murphy, and Bohac. Additionally, the conservative Senate, led by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick passed the legislation, and our conservative Governor Greg Abbott allowed the bill to become law. So, aren’t they all liberals who should be censured too?
On the “Taproom” bill, once again Rep. Davis was joined by Reps. Roberts, Huberty, Paul, Oliverson, Murphy, Elkins, and Bohac. The conservative Senate, led by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick passed the legislation, and conservative Governor Greg Abbott allowed the bill to become law. Where is the censure motion as to them?
Notably absent from the resolution claiming she is a liberal, are several major conservative accomplishments of Rep. Davis in the last session alone, including legislation she authored to root out waste, fraud and abuse by requiring welfare recipients to provide personal identification in order to be eligible for SNAP benefits. The resolution also ignores Davis’ role, as Chair of the House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics, in exposing scandal at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, by holding public hearings that led to the resignations of several officials engaging in misuse of taxpayer dollars.
This resolution is a dishonest attempt, relying on a deceptive “scorecard,” from an Austin special interest group to paint Rep. Davis as a liberal for votes that were consistently the same as the majority of the Harris County Republican delegation!
The real reason behind this charade is the censure group’s difference of opinion with Davis, and some of us who support her candidacy, on some social issues such as abortion. When legislators debated a bill in 2013 seeking greater restrictions on abortion, Davis warned the restrictions would not pass constitutional muster. She authored an amendment banning late-term abortions without otherwise restricting access to abortion in an unconstitutional manner. Davis warned the U.S. Supreme Court would find the bill unconstitutional without her amendment, and ultimately her prediction came true. Had the majority voted with Rep. Davis, we would actually have a more pro-life statute on the books today, and wouldn’t have wasted your tax dollars on fighting litigation we could not win.
If censure advocates get their way, we’ll need to censure a majority of the Harris County Republican delegation. Bill after bill, Rep. Davis votes with the majority of her Republican colleagues. Why should she be judged differently? There is more here than deceptive “scorecards.” Are we, the Republican Party, going to focus on misleading “purity” tests from outside special interest groups while Harris County votes increasingly Democratic? Hillary Clinton won Harris County by 13 points. If we censure Sarah Davis, we are censuring one of our most successful Republican leaders, one with real election-winning crossover appeal. While President Trump lost in Rep. Davis’ Republican-leaning district by 15 points, Davis won by more than 10 points! Davis helps GOP candidates up and down the ballot by pulling in Republican votes. It’s foolish to attack one of our few Republican officials with real cross-over appeal. We risk losing Davis’ seat to another liberal Democrat who will not only vote against us on abortion, but on virtually every issue. Why should we cut off our nose to spite our face?
We believe the best way to handle intra-party differences is not to take sides in a contested GOP primary – and believe us, this censure vote was created to help Davis’ GOP opponent – rather, we should trust Republican voters to decide for themselves.
Yours sincerely, the below signed Republican precinct chairs, former elected officials, grassroots activists, and community leaders from Harris County:
Sue Anne Lurcott
There is a lot to read and think about in those two polar opposite documents.
Unfortunately, I won’t be there tomorrow night for the potential vote because I have a City Council meeting to attend, as I do on every Monday night quarterly executive meeting. If I were there, I would vote against this ridiculous measure for the following reasons:
- Rule 44 is nothing but a recipe for disaster for the Texas Republican Party. The idea that county precinct chairs can censure elected officials that they cannot vote for in an election is asinine.
- Mr. Bowen, et al. have failed to prove their case even if I did support Rule 44. As Davis correctly points out, in most cases her votes are no different than those led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
- There is a primary challenger to Rep. Davis, her first credible challenger since she was elected in 2010. The culture warriors should make their case to the voters in her district.
Make no mistake about it, this attempt to censure Rep. Davis is about four things. Her support of soon to be former Speaker Joe Straus, her support of the public school system, her support of the LGBTQ community and her pro-choice position on abortion. The so-called personal accountability/responsibiltiy and fiscal transgressions listed above are a joke. The voters in her district have consistently supported her knowing exactly why the culture warriors are against her.
I sincerely doubt that this will even come to a vote tomorrow night but if it does, I hope that sanity prevails and the members that are present vote it down.
It’s going to be a long primary season folks.