Texas Parent PAC is a general purpose political action committee active in Texas politics. Aimed at supporting candidates favorable to public education, Texas Parent PAC’s endorsements are often at odds with other education-related organizations and PACs within the state, including the Texas Home School Coalition and public school-choice advocates.
In the Capitol, Texas Parent PAC advocates for increased funding of public schools, including mandatory funding and expansion of pre-kindergarten, and opposes any form of school voucher program. The group’s website boasts of their endorsements for pro-public school candidates who “reflect traditional mainstream American values.” In the last election cycle, the group raised roughly $147,000, and spent just over $101,500 on political advocacy.
1.Support for candidates friendly with Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus.
In Republican primary battles, Texas Parent PAC supported candidates known to be favored by the current Texas House leadership. For example, in House District 94, Texas Parent PAC donated $1,000 to Andrew Piel, who unsuccessfully challenged State Representative and veteran Tony Tinderholt, an outspoken conservative critic of Speaker Straus and his lieutenants. In southeast Texas, Republicans Ernest Bailes and Keith Strahan battled it out in a runoff election for House District 18. Mr. Bailes received $2,500 from Texas Parent PAC over opponent Strahan who was endorsed by organizations known to be unhappy with Speaker Straus’ leadership.
2. Endorses both Republican and Democrat candidates.
Texas Parent PAC supported both Democrats and what most insiders would consider more “moderate” Republicans during the last election cycle. While many political action committees tend to side with one political party over the other, Texas Parent PAC chose to go a different route. Their financials clearly reveal a strategy to support both Republican and Democrat candidates whom they believe would ultimately further their agenda of increasing the amount of money put into public eduction while rebuffing any public school choice measures.
3. Advocacy not limited to campaign contributions.
While donating directly to candidates’ campaigns, the Texas Parent PAC also reaches voters by sending out their own mailers and voter guides, engaging in social media campaigns, and using other voter outreach tools. In fact, the PAC spent upwards of $36,000 in independent expenditures such as in-kind mailers for failed State Senate candidate Susan King and newly elected State Representative Scott Cosper, House District 54. A $10,000 donation to Texas Parent PAC from a candidate they endorsed, Byron Cook, is likely to have been used to fund mailers and other in-kind activities supporting his high-profile reelection bid.
Most interesting donation:
Texas Parent PAC’s largest direct campaign contribution went to Democrat Terry Meza. During the general election of November 2016, only a handful of legislative races were truly contested; most of the real battles occurred during the primary season. Once the general election began, it was often a foregone conclusion whether the seat would go Democrat or Republican. One of those truly contested seats was House District 105 in North Texas, near the Grand Prairie area. Republican incumbent State Representative Rodney Anderson faced off with Democrat challenger Terry Meza. In addition to receiving $6,000 from Texas Parent PAC, Ms. Meza was also endorsed by Annie’s LIST, a pro-choice political action committee. State Rep. Anderson and Ms. Meza’s race ended in a high-profile recount where State Rep. Anderson emerged victorious by just a few dozen votes.
Our Capitol Crowd series outlines and highlights the politicians, advocacy groups, and donors that have the biggest impact during the 140-day legislative session. Check back throughout session for updates.