By John Paulton, Mobilization Manager
On Tuesday, Texans went to the polls for the state’s Primary Election. By the time the votes were counted early Wednesday morning, it was evident that voters had sent a strong message in support of religious freedom and protecting student privacy.
Perhaps the most notable race on these issues was Lisa Luby Ryan’s defeat of incumbent Rep. Jason Villalba in the Dallas area. Villalba was one of the most vocal opponents of the Texas Privacy Act, which would have ensured that students use the bathrooms and showers of their biological sex.
In addition, Villalba was one of two House Republicans to vote against a religious freedom bill that protects the conscience rights of faith-based adoption agencies, a bill that was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2017. Outgoing Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (a moderate Republican who killed the Texas Privacy Act) donated money to Villalba’s campaign.
Ryan took a strong stand in support of student privacy and religious freedom, and voters rewarded her with a victory over Villalba.
Family Policy Alliance was pleased to work with our ally Texas Values Action to spread the word about where the candidates stood – even providing a substantial grant that was used for tens of thousands of mailers, phone calls and digital ads.
“Last night proves that, by and large, candidates and voters who stand by Texas values win,” said Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values Action. “Congratulations to all of our endorsed candidates on some hard-fought races – all of which show the importance of faith and family in Texas.”
Jonathan added: “Every Texas Values Action-endorsed candidate in the Texas House that supported the Texas Privacy Act won their election.” This should send a powerful message to Texas legislators and lawmakers in other states—families want leaders who will stand strong for their values, especially protecting their children’s privacy in schools.
Other notable victories, among many, included pro-family Sen. Bob Hall fending off a strong challenge from state Rep. Cindy Burkett. And in East Texas, Thomas McNutt will go to a runoff after a strong showing in a seat vacated by another state representative who played a key role in defeating last year’s Texas Privacy Act.
Even some pro-family challengers who faced very long odds against entrenched incumbents did surprisingly well.
Paul Weber, President of Family Policy Alliance, expressed thanks to supporters who made this week’s victories possible. “This wouldn’t have happened without the good people who give, work and pray to support Family Policy Alliance and our allied state groups like Texas Values Action.”