Straus to Donate $1 Million to Moderate Republicans

The November election on the Republican side is shaping up to be the Battle of the Big Wallets, with retiring House Speaker Joe Straus committed to donating $1 million from his campaign fund to help moderate Republicans who have been targeted for defeat by movement conservatives, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Straus, who announced last summer that he will not seek re-election, says he wants to help the campaigns of 'responsible, solutions-oriented' Republican candidates.

Straus' donations come as Abbott has vowed to use his substantial campaign warchest, as he is facing two weak Democratic candidates in November, to work for the defeat of Republicans who have opposed his agenda, or who he considers to be 'insufficiently conservative.'

One recipient of Straus' largesse is northwest side State Rep. Lyle Larson, who has been on Abbott's hit list since sponsoring 'ethics in government' bills that rubbed Abbott the wrong way, including one that would end the time-honored practice of governors appointing big donors to key state positions, like University System Boards of Regents.

Straus and Larson have been friends all their lives; Larson's father, who was a large animal veterinarian, cared for Straus' father's prize winning race horses.

Straus says he will also donate to the re-election campaign of State Rep. Sarah Davis (R-Houston), a pro-choice Republican who has been labeled as 'misguided' by the conservative group Empower Texas.  Abbott actively supported Davis' challenger in the March primary.

Straus says funding is also going to Steve Allison, the former Alamo Heights School Board member who is running to replace him in the Legislature, as well as U.S. Rep Will Hurd, who is facing a strong challenge from well-funded Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones.

"I'm proud to support serious, thoughtful Republican legislators who provide strong leadership for Texas and for the Republican Party," Straus said. "These legislators have served their constituents well, and I’m happy to help them share their accomplishments with voters."

Straus himself was the target of attacks by conservative Republicans for killing the so called 'Bathroom Bill' in the 2017 session. The measure, which was a favorite of movement conservatives, would have limited public restroom use to the gender on the person's birth certificate.

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