The Trump Tally

Here’s where Texas’ top elected officials stand on the 2016 presidential race. (Hint: it’s mostly with Donald Trump.)

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Here’s where Texas’ top elected officials stand on the 2016 presidential race. (Hint: it’s mostly with Donald Trump.)

Donald Trump
Only a handful of Texas’ highest ranking elected Republicans have remained silent on Trump.  Patrick Michels

In a few weeks, American voters may very well elect Donald J. Trump as president of the United States. Trump will almost certainly win in Texas. Even if he doesn’t prevail, Trump will have a lasting effect on politics. He has shown that naked racism, misogyny and xenophobia are still powerful motivators. He’s proved that demagoguery, a disdain for facts, shameless pimping of personal business interests, cheap celebrity gimmicks and orange skin are assets, not vices to be purged from the body politic. He’s admitted on tape to taking advantage of his fame and wealth to sexually assault and intimidate women, and teenage pageant contestants, among others, have confirmed his story. He’s made clear that GOP sacred cows, as Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold put it, can be readily made into “barbecue.” Win or lose, Trumpism is now mainstream.

The ease with which Trump vanquished his Republican primary opponents and laid waste to the #NeverTrump movement is astonishing. So is the way so many conservative elected officials and other GOP elites have embraced Trump, often setting aside their discomfort, and principles. Some have done so half-heartedly, more out of political convenience or cowardice than enthusiasm. Others have done so with gusto. Some have said nothing. And then there’s whatever got into Ted Cruz.

Given the weight of this election, these individual decisions deserve to be documented. In aggregate, they also tell a story about the direction of the Republican Party, Texas and the nation.

What follows is the position of every Texas Republican U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, statewide elected official and member of the Texas Senate, as well as the speaker of the Texas House. We’ll be monitoring the field and updating with changes until November 8.

Team Trump

If you can’t direct the way the wind blows, the next best thing is positioning your sail to catch the right, righter, rightest gust of hot air. These Texans tacking along with Trump know which side of the border wall has the friendliest waters.

Dan Patrick

Dan Patrick, Lieutenant Governor

“I invite all patriots and conservatives to join me as we move forward, heal our disagreements and unite to defeat Hillary Clinton, whose candidacy looms as a grave threat to the future of our country.”

Ace trickle-down pandering from the talk radio host-turned-state senator-turned-lieutenant governor. Dan Patrick didn’t get where he is today (at Buc-ee’s, probably) by holding back when political opportunity came a-knocking, and his own brand of bombastic xenophobia tracks well with Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. These two guys were made for each other — and they’re even keeping a seat warm for Ted, too. Adora-deplorable.

Sid Miller

Sid Miller, Agriculture Commissioner

“Personally I think Donald Trump will be great for agriculture.”

World champion calf roper Sid “Jesus Shot” Miller has advocated nuking the entire Muslim world, and granted an official amnesty to cupcakes. In addition, he now serves on Trump’s Agricultural Advisory Committee. Despite Miller’s steadfast belief that Trump will make farming great again, his committee has yet to explain how deporting 50 to 70 percent of the agricultural workforce “on day one” will benefit the industry.

Ken Paxton Attorney General

“I plan to support him, vote for him, tell everybody to vote for him. Whether it relates to the economy, whether it relates to national security, whether it relates to the Supreme Court, we know where Hillary Clinton is going to go with this, and so I’m telling my friends, ‘Vote for Donald Trump.’”

Christi Craddick Railroad Commissioner

“Congrats to Donald J Trump, our @GOP Party’s official nominee for the high office of President of the United States #RNCinCLE #LeadRight2016.”

Brian Babin U.S. Representative, Woodville

“I am totally at peace and unequivocally endorsing Donald Trump for President of the United States.”

Kevin Brady U.S. Representative, The Woodlands

“Americans want a fighter and they want real change. Tonight, Donald Trump made it clear he’s going to fight to make our communities safe again and our nation strong again.”

John Culberson U.S. Representative,

“I always have and always will support the Republican nominee. The party should unify behind the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, to defeat Hillary Clinton.”

Mike Conaway U.S. Representative, Midland

Jeb Hensarling U.S. Representative,

Pete Sessions U.S. Representative,

Lamar Smith U.S. Representative,
San Antonio

Endorsed Trump in a joint statement.

Blake Farenthold U.S. Representative, Corpus Christi

“He may have crossed the line there, but I don’t agree with everything I say sometimes. With President Trump, I’m ready to get off defense and go on offense. Trump is going to slaughter some sacred cows, and I’m ready for the barbecue.”

Ted Poe U.S. Representative,

“Trump, a businessman, wants to run the country like a business in the sense that people get back to work. … Millions of Americans have given up on the American Dream and quit looking for work and Trump can do that.”

Michael McCaul U.S. Representative,

“He will never bow down to our enemies. He will stand up to them. And Donald will never allow terrorists to gain ground on America. He will shake the ground they walk on.”

Louie Gohmert U.S. Representative, Tyler

“If it’s not Donald Trump, it’s going to be Hillary Clinton. And I know our freedoms will be gone.”

Charles Perry State Senator,

“I think Trump’s gonna win this; me, I’m voting for my platform.”

Craig Estes State Senator, Wichita Falls

“I need a T-shirt, I need a hat. I’ve been a Ted Cruz man, but we’re going to win Texas for Trump.”

Lois Kolkhorst State Senator, Brenham

“I’ve taken a few deep breaths today, and I’m going to get behind Donald Trump, because I know that we cannot take another four, potentially eight years, which would be 16 years of a liberal president — it will transform America.”

Donald Huffines State Senator, Dallas

“I’m voting for @realDonaldTrump and I support @tedcruz. Both are great Republicans & great fighters. #RNCinCLE”

Paul Bettencourt State Senator, Houston

“Trump has already rebounded from the bottom and is coming back strong. His strong use of the facts on immigration, crime, and the new Clinton scandal revelations brought energy to the crowd and impressed those around me.”

Donna Campbell State Senator, New Braunfels

Kelly Hancock State Senator, North Richland Hills

Bob Hall State Senator, Edgewood

I’m With… Him

Survivor didn’t make it to 33 seasons and counting on CBS because the American public hates watching desperate people do repulsive things in hopes of achieving some smidgen of success, however meaningless and fleeting. Politics, like reality television — or, thanks to Trump’s candidacy, in tandem with reality television — are no different. Cockroaches must be eaten. Unholy alliances must be made. Clintons must be defeated.

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator

“I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.”

Well, he’ll just have to do it this once, then.

Roger Williams

Roger Williams, U.S. Representative, Weatherford

“I’ve endorsed Trump because he’s our candidate. It comes down to the Supreme Court. I don’t want Hillary Clinton nominating the justices. Whether you like him or not, the people voted for him. The people spoke. I feel his tax proposal doesn’t cut enough taxes. On social issues I may be a little more to the right. I’m a business guy. I’m one of the few people in Congress who owns a business. The main thing is the Supreme Court.”

It seems Williams has picked up some of Trump’s erratic speech patterns — the logical leaps, the non-sequiturs, the business brags. On the other hand, this mealymouthed endorsement (…whether you like him or not…) has the feeling of something a politician would shout over his shoulder as he runs away from a reporter. A consummate Texas GOP insider and Dubya acolyte with some serious fundraising chops, Williams is the kind of politician who is made nervous by any kind of insurgency that threatens to topple the system he’s helped nurture. He just can’t quite say it.

George P. Bush

George P. Bush, Land Commissioner

“From Team Bush, it’s a bitter pill to swallow, but you know what? You get back up and you help the man that won, and you make sure that we stop Hillary Clinton.”

In August, the fourth- or fifth most famous Bush threw his poor dad (Jeb!, formerly of presidential race fame) under the family mini-van by sorta, kinda, pretty much endorsing Trump. His grandfather, George H.W. Bush, says he’s voting for Clinton and poor, humiliated Jeb! has said he will not vote for Trump. But neither of them are in politics. Ambitious, calculating George P. is often said to be a “rising star,” especially in a future GOP that embraces Latinos. As much pain as it may have caused his family, P.’s Trump endorsement is shrewd politics; it has everything to do with his political survival.

Greg Abbott Governor

“Congratulations to my good friend Ted Cruz on a hard fought campaign. Conservatives must unite to support the presumptive GOP nominee and prevent the Constitution from being destroyed by Hillary.”

Ryan Sitton Railroad Commissioner

“We just don’t know a lot about Donald Trump today, right? He just came out of nowhere, never been in politics. He has espoused a lot of positions, but they were in a fairly inflammatory way and so, we want to know what is the intellect behind that. My hope is that Donald Trump is going to be the guy that we need him to be.”

John Cornyn U.S. Senator

“I really think the choice couldn’t be any clearer. People may prefer different choices, but these are the choices we have. It’s either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.”

Joe Barton U.S. Representative, Ennis

“It would be pretty hypocritical of me not to support Mr. Trump. I do think he’s not our perfect nominee. I do think he’s also showing an ability to bring people in who have not traditionally voted for someone in our party.”

Michael Burgess U.S. Representative, Lewisville

“It is critical that the Republican Party unites to take back the White House in 2017 and ensure that our country is not subject to a detrimental Clinton administration. … I plan to put all of my support behind the Republican nominee.”

John Carter U.S. Representative, Round Rock

“People ask me: Who are you supporting for president? I say, the Republican nominee.”

Kenny Marchant U.S. Representative, Coppell

“I was with Bush, Rubio, then Cruz. … I’m going to support the nominee. Most reservations will be settled in the next few weeks. Members will get more and more comfortable with the nominee.”

Randy Neugebauer U.S. Representative, Lubbock

“It has and will continue to be my position that we need to unite behind the Republican nominee. Mr. Trump may be unpredictable, but Mrs. Clinton will be predictably bad for America.”

John Ratcliffe U.S. Representative, Heath

“It’s no secret that I was a Ted Cruz supporter, but Donald Trump is now the presumptive nominee. I’ve said all along that I would support our party’s nominee, and stand by that. ‪#‎NeverHillary‬”

Randy Weber U.S. Representative,

“Now, we must set our sights on doing what is necessary to prevent Hillary Clinton from taking the White House in November.”

Brandon Creighton State Senator, Conroe

“This presidential election is about one thing and one thing only: preventing the return of the corrupt Clinton Dynasty to the White House. … Texans can rest assured I’ll be doing my part to ensure a Republican victory in November.”

Sam Johnson U.S. Representative, Plano

“Well, I think he’s the party’s nominee, we’ll just leave it at that. I don’t know whether I personally will [endorse him], but I’ll vote for him.”

The Holdouts

Who among us hasn’t been there, actively choosing, day after day, not to respond to that Facebook birthday shindig invite from your least favorite college roommate? Maybe the party will just happen! Maybe nobody will even notice you weren’t there! Maybe someone will save you a piece of cake to eat later, in secret, while moisturizing that slice of sugary goodness with the tears of abject shame.

Glenn Hegar Comptroller

“I think a lot of us are still in the grieving process. We need time. People are going to take some time, and then they’ll figure out what to do.”

Bill Flores U.S. Representative, Bryan

“I don’t endorse people that bash judges — based on his ethnic heritage,” said Flores, but he’s voting for Trump anyway.

Mac Thornberry U.S. Representative, Clarendon

“If you endorse somebody, it’s like a stamp of approval and embracing them. I’m not comfortable doing that with him based on a number of reasons.”

Joe Straus Speaker of the Texas House

“I don’t think endorsing, or my activity at the top of the ticket is going to matter a bit. My focus is down ballot. I have this job to do and I take it 100 percent seriously.”


Texas’ only congresswoman, Texas’ only black congressman and #NeverTrump hard-liner Konni Burton, the state senator from Colleyville, are the lone Texas Republicans who’ve been bold enough to say that enough is enough when it comes to Trump’s racist, misogynist shenanigans.

Will Hurd

Will Hurd, U.S. Representative, Helotes

“I cannot in good conscience support or vote for a man who degrades women, insults minorities and has no clear path to keep our country safe. He should step aside for a true conservative to beat Hillary Clinton.”

Will Hurd is the first black Republican from Texas elected to Congress. This year, he finds himself in the state’s most competitive Congressional race: a tight rematch with Democrat Pete Gallego for his West Texas seat. For months, Hurd stayed cagey about his support for Trump, as Gallego hammered him for his reticence. Now Hurd’s finally pulled the trigger, leaving Trump’s leaky yacht of a campaign to (probably) sink without him. But did he jump soon enough to hold onto his majority-Latino district?

Kay Granger

Kay Granger, U.S. Representative, Fort Worth

“We have hard rumors about the insensitive and vulgar things Mr. Trump says about women. But watching that video is disgusting. Mr. Trump should remove himself from consideration as Commander in Chief.”

Kay Granger, the first Republican woman to represent Texas in the U.S. House, says she was long troubled by “rumors” of the Donald’s misogyny. It’s hard to say what kept her from confirming those rumors given the near-infinite available evidence, but, hey, better late than never. Granger officially dumped the Republican nominee in the wake of the now-infamous “grab them by the pussy” video. And the punchbowl-hovering #NeverTrump corner of the Republican Party got just a little less lonely.

Konni Burton

Konni Burton, State Senator, Colleyville

“Not sure if you realize this, but you’re in a Prez race, not kindergarten.”

Tea party true believer Konni Burton and her mile-a-minute Twitter account have been at the forefront of the #NeverTrump movement in Texas. Things got especially lonely in September when Ted Cruz, Burton’s political BFF, unburdened himself of his principles by endorsing his sworn enemy, Donald Trump. Burton hasn’t said much about Cruz’s about-face, but she did remind her Twitter followers in late September, “Have I mentioned that I hate this election?”

Silence is Golden (or Orange?)

“This too shall pass” is the motto of these Texas Republicans who have managed to avoid commenting on the fake-haired fray of financial scandals and prehistoric beefs with Rosie O’Donnell that is the 2016 Trump campaign. Either that, or they’ve told everyone they could and no one’s bothered to write it down. That being the case, we await with ready pens.

They are: David Porter, Railroad Commissioner; Brian Birdwell, State Senator, Granbury; Kevin Eltife, State Senator, Tyler; Troy Fraser, State Senator, Horseshoe Bay; Joan Huffman, State Senator, Houston; Jane Nelson, State Senator, Flower Mound; Robert Nichols, State Senator, Jacksonville; Charles Schwertner, State Senator, Georgetown; Kel Seliger, State Senator, Amarillo; Larry Taylor, State Senator, Friendswood; Van Taylor, State Senator, Plano.