November 21, 2020
Abbott Establishment Quartet Comes
through With Show of Might in Crunch
Governor Greg Abbott, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Associated
Republicans of Texas, Republican State Leadership Committee
Governor Greg Abbott ignited a tempest within the Texas GOP during the spring with the locking down of the Lone Star State during the early stages of the coronavirus crisis when he ordered the shuttering of non-essential businesses. Hard-boiled conservatives were portraying Abbott as a ruthless tyrant who'd been intoxicated by the special powers that he'd effectively given himself with the declaration of the COVID-19 invasion as an official disaster in March. Grassroots activists in several major Republican county parties around the state voted to condemn the governor for stealing freedom from them with the imposition of a statewide mask decree during the lethal second surge.
Abbott had to be shaking his head in unprecedented disbelief when the brand new chairman of the Texas GOP declared war on him as a result of leadership during the public health emergency. The governor had to be thinking at that point that it doesn't get any crazier than this.
But Abbott found a way to look past the hounding as the central force in a small band of establishment interests that saved the Republican Party from itself in Texas with a monumental team effort that crushed the Democrats' hopes for a state House majority in 2021.
The Abbott campaign teamed up with the Texans for Lawsuit Reform, the Associated Republicans of Texas and the Republican State Leadership Committee in a whirlwind House salvation crusade that poured almost $20 million into target races in the final month before the general election.
The Texans for Greg Abbott and the trio of ally committees spent almost $36 million collectively during the 2020 cycle with the lion's share going into a desperation scramble to stop the Democrats from taking the lower chamber back with a net gain of nine seats.
The Republicans who'd become used to major advantages in the money supply had been caught off guard at the outset of the fall when the Democrats in targeted fights for seats that the GOP was defending raised hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece during the summer. The bulk of the historic largess in Texas had come courtesy of national Democratic interests and tiny donations from individuals across the country. The Democrats had the money, the momentum and President Donald Trump as the ultimate ally.
Abbott in the meantime had state GOP Chairman Allen West breathing fire down his neck for refusing to abide by his call to end all pandemic restrictions. No state party in Texas had ever been in disarray as bad as the GOP here in 2020. The Republicans appeared to be on the cusp of destruction heading into the final month before the vote.
When all appeared lost, however, the big dogs showed up in epic fashion with TLR and ART stepped up with more than $14 million in expenditures in the closing weeks of the battle combined. The Abbott campaign and the RSLC Texas branch spent nearly $6 million collectively during the month before the election with the lion's share going into swing races for the House.
Twenty-one of 24 Republicans in targeted races raised more than $1 million apiece with the Abbott establishment quartet as the driving force. A handful of House Republicans who'd appeared to be most vulnerable each reported contributions of more than $2 million for re-election bids that ended successfully thanks to Abbott and the big-giving groups that came through in the stretch in a show of might that knocked some steam out of that wave.
Abbott, TLR, ART and RSLC - that was the closest thing the Republicans had to a victory campaign in Texas in 2020 when a tie on the House battlefield seemed like a big win.