Abbott Surrogate Claims Half of Republican Legislative Priorities Passed At Waco Event

At a candidate forum this week in Waco, I was able to introduce our campaign to a crowded room of Republican and conservative voters from all over McLennan County. As the only candidate for Lieutenant Governor in attendance, it was nice to have a captive audience. However, the real fireworks were between me and a surrogate for Governor Greg Abbott.

Also in attendance was Mike McCloskey, a former member of the State Republican Executive Committee and, now, a field director for Governor Greg Abbott.

Before the official meeting, we were encouraged to mingle with the attendees and I took the opportunity to reintroduce myself to Mike. Mike and I have a bit of history as you will read below. However, I’m not a jerk so I made it a point to speak with him.

Things rapidly went off the rails when he said that he was proud that he got legislation through in this session. Oops.

“What about the dismal performance on the RPT Legislative Priorities?” I asked.

McCloskey claimed that “half” of the priorities had been passed.

“Really? Half? You believe that half of the priorities were passed in their entirety?”

“Well,” he said, “there will be people who nitpick,” he replied. “We got Constitutional Carry passed.”

“No. You got unlicensed open carry passed. Two different things. What about a ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying or gender modification of minors? Seriously, none of them were done in any substantial way,” I retorted.

At that very moment, I was surrounded by supporters who brought their friends over to meet me. But that wasn’t the end of the exchange.

When it came time for the speakers, as a surrogate for the Governor, he spoke first. In his 2 minute remarks, he made the outrageous claim that Abbott was securing the border and the border wall was being built. A small group of people sitting in front of him cheered the declaration. However, the rest of the room stood in stunned silence at the seeming disconnect from reality.

It was my turn to speak next. In my two minutes I introduced myself and, while I initially wanted to spend most of my time on the property tax issue, I tackled the reality on the border.

“On June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy in the largest amphibious invasion in modern history. Every month, that many illegal aliens cross the border from Mexico, aided by armed drug cartels, facilitated by the National Guard, and transported by the federal government. Our border is not secure.”

The room nodded in agreement. McCloskey hung his head and avoided eye contact. His entire speech crumbled.

For the rest of the event, McCloskey was subdued and stayed with the small group of people who cheered him on. I spent the rest of the evening meeting voters who were energized that there was a candidate running for Lieutenant Governor who understood their concerns and had enough respect for them to tell the truth.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve had to publicly rebuke McCloskey. In 2016, when a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, Tanya Robertson, filed a resolution to put the TEXIT question on the ballot, McCloskey sent a borderline illiterate screed to the entirety of the SREC claiming that even letting the people vote on the issue was “treason”. My response, which has become known as the “Huckleberry Letter”, was a public rebuke of anti-TEXIT hysteria and a direct challenge to McCloskey to defend his hypocrisy in a debate. He refused.

My letter (shown below) drove him to silence on the issue.

Now it seems that Abbott has tapped McCloskey to be his surrogate at campaign events. It is telling that both Abbott and Patrick have shunned candidate events and forums where their challengers will be present and have begun to send inadequate surrogates in their stead.

This portends trouble for both Abbott and Patrick’s campaigns as they are both having to actually campaign but still refuse to face their challengers with the conservative base of voters present. Recent polling shows Abbott below 50% and it’s reasonable to believe that Dan Patrick is tracking similarly, meaning that both will likely be in a Republican primary runoff election.

I am looking forward to facing Dan Patrick in the runoff and giving the voters of Texas a clear choice for a strong Lieutenant Governor who will always stand for the people and the principles that make Texas great.

The Huckleberry Letter
(Nov 30, 2015)

Mr. McCloskey,

I am in receipt of a copy of your email that was distributed to other members of the State Republican Executive Committee dated November 25th titled “SHOCKING March 2016 Ballot Initiative Info for Dec SREC Meeting”. I have also received your email titled “Petition to reject Texas Succession resolution”.

I must say, that it is your reaction to this resolution that is truly “shocking”. Throughout your diatribe, there are several key themes that you cite as justification for your opposition for giving Texans the ability to vote on this issue.

It is important that we recognize the real debate. This is not a debate on the merits of Texas independence. The only decision before you, and your fellow members of the SREC, is whether or not the people of Texas are worthy and competent enough to have a vote on the issue. While it is obvious from your words and actions that you do not support Texas independence, you only cite two actual reasons for your position that Texas should not be allowed to even vote on the issue.

The first is this.

“If the SREC were to actually vote to adopt this treacherous resolution and place it on the ballot, it would say that the body that is supposed to be knowledgable about what we put before the voters of Texas thinks this is actually a good idea.”

This sentiment shows either a lack of understanding of why the party places resolutions before the voters in the first place, or exposes the resolution process as a mere rubber-stamp of the unanimous will of the SREC. Why are resolutions placed on the party primary ballot if not to discern the will of Republican voters? If you are claiming to already know the will of Republican voters in all matters, then why go through the charade of placing resolutions on the ballot? Why not, in your omniscience, go ahead and choose for Texans what we are supposed to think on all matters of policy?

Your position on this matter is that you speak for every member of the SREC. You seem to also lay claim to speaking for every Republican in Texas. And, I can tell you, from the massive number of voters that we have reached on this issue, you do not.

You cannot, as a matter of course, impose your sole will on all Republicans in Texas. You do not have the right.

The second is this.

“Having such a resolution on our March Primary ballot will take away from the focus of our candidates, and this will be the topic of discussion, in a harmful way, watching for if the voters of Texas would actually consider TREASON as a viable option.”

Your position on this issue flies in the face of fact and reason.

Placing this resolution on the primary ballot does not divert any attention from candidates in the Republican Primary. As we know, the vast majority of Republican candidates will be unopposed in the primaries, and will likely be unopposed in the general election as well. They will continue to campaign as they normally would regardless of the presence of this resolution on the primary ballot drawing the same amount of attention they would otherwise receive.

It will, however, definitely be a topic of discussion as Texans begin to have meaningful dialog on the relationship between Texas and the Federal Government. I fail to see how any elected SREC member would see a public discussion of this nature as “harmful”. In fact, this conversation is already taking place to a lesser degree over a myriad of issues that are central to the Republican Party of Texas platform, with its champion being Governor Abbott.

To oppose an expansion of the discussion relating to the right of Texas as a State, means standing in support of the Obama/Clinton doctrine of the elimination of state sovereignty and the consolidation of power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats in Washington. This is a position which Texans have repeatedly rejected.

It is also in this part of your email that you make one of your many accusations, accusing people who support independence of “treason”. That, sir, would be me. You are accusing me of treason. But, as I have often seen throughout my 19 years of work for Texas independence, you obviously have no clear understanding of what that word means.

When you were elected to the SREC, you agreed to uphold both the federal and Texas constitutions. The word “treason”, and its definition, appears in both.

Article III of the Constitution of the United States has this to say about treason.

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

Not one of us has advocated war against the United States. No one has advocated adhering to the enemies of the United States nor have they given them aid or comfort.

Article 1 Section 22 of the Texas Constitution has this to say about treason.

“Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it, or adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort;”

Not one of us has advocated war against the State of Texas. No one has advocated adhering to the enemies of the State of Texas nor have they given them aid or comfort.

Treason is a defined crime in law. When you hurl that accusation around, you are accusing me, and people who believe like me, of committing a crime. I would make for you the same offer that I make to others when I am forced to confront them on this issue. If you believe that I am advocating the commission of a criminal act or committing one, then call the police. Failing that, an apology will suffice.

Your email is conspicuous for what it doesn’t contain more than it is for what little it does contain.

For all of your accusations of this resolution being “un-American” you never bother to acknowledge the words of the most American of documents, the Declaration of Independence, which says,

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

This is the purest essence of being an American. Why, then, are you being so un-American through your opposition to letting the people of Texas at least express their opinion on this matter at the ballot box?

Instead, you chose to repeatedly invoke the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. I find this odd on two fronts. First, that you would choose to exclusively invoke a recitation for which you did not take an oath to uphold. Second, that you would choose to invoke the words penned by the socialist Francis Bellamy rather than the words of a Founding Father like Thomas Jefferson. It was your choice to make, no matter how poor of a choice it was.

As an official who has pledged to uphold both the federal and Texas constitutions, not once do you mention either of them to justify your opposition to letting Texans vote on this issue. Not once do you acknowledge Article 1 Section 2 of the Texas Constitution, to which you owe allegiance, which states:

“All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.”

This exact phrase or some variation of it has existed in every constitution that Texans have lived under since 1836. But you chose to ignore this fundamental right that so many Texans fought, bled and died to preserve. You state that you “love being a Texan” but it is hard to reconcile that sentiment with your actions that, according to our own Constitution, are so decidedly un-Texan.

Sir, in every possible way, you have failed to put forth any compelling reason to deny the voters of Texas the opportunity to express their opinion on this matter. But let’s be honest. No compelling reason exists.

You have chosen to ignore the facts on the issue as well as the positive impact that such a vote would have on the Republican Party.

First, a majority of Republican voters support Texas independence. An overwhelming majority believes that we should at least get a public debate and vote on the issue.

Second, disaffected and disengaged conservative voters would re-engage the Republican Party if they were given a vote on Texas independence.

Third, more minority voters support a vote on Texas independence than support the Republican Party. These are voters that the Republican Party needs to engage.

Fourth, votes of this nature worldwide have shown that voters turn out to the polls in record numbers to express their will on the issue of independence.

Finally, giving Texans a vote on the issue of independence upholds several of the stated principles of the Republican Party, including:

Strict adherence to the original intent of the Declaration of Independence and United States and Texas Constitutions. 

Preserving American and Texas sovereignty and freedom. 

Limiting government power to those items enumerated in the United States and Texas Constitutions.

But it is the Republican Party platform and, more specifically, the bylaws of the SREC that I want to point out.

Article 2 of the bylaws of the State Republican Executive Committee state:

The purposes of the SREC shall be:

To act as the governing body of the Republican Party of Texas (hereinafter referred to as the “Party”) and exercise those powers and fulfill those duties and responsibilities conferred upon it by the state or federal statutes, 

To establish general policy for the Party, subject to the direction of the biennial state convention, 

To be responsible for the general supervision and management of the Party, 

To foster and encourage growth in the Party by promoting the principles as expressed in the platform and by electing Republican officeholders, and 

To provide an opportunity for full participation in the Party to all Texans who subscribe to the beliefs and principles advocated by the Party.

By stating, in writing, that your only function on the SREC is to “advance and elect Republican candidates from the Court House to the White House”, you are denying the other purposes for which the SREC exists and standing derelict in those duties. In addition, you are, through your petition effort, actively working against one of the stated purposes of the SREC by trying to deny the “opportunity for full participation in the Party to all Texans who subscribe to the beliefs and principles advocated by the Party.”

As such, you have confessed your unwillingness to fulfill your obligations to the Republican Party as a representative on the State Republican Executive Committee and should resign immediately.

If this resolution survives the chicanery that you are proposing, then I will make this offer to you.

Prior to a March 1st vote on this resolution by the Republican voters of Texas, I will publicly debate you on the issue of Texas independence. I can think of fewer things that would make me happier than standing across from you on a stage and publicly debating Texas independence.

Remove your objection and obstruction, pass this resolution and put it to a vote of the people of Texas, and, should you desire to “take me to school” then I’m your huckleberry.

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