Republican Consultant Discusses Texas Republican Primary Runoff Results

Republican Consultant Discusses Texas Republican Primary Runoff Results

Matt Mackowiak says the next legislative session is slowly taking shape, but the race for president will determine the final direction.

TEXAS, USA — The electoral rancor among Texas Republicans is over.

And Travis County GOP Chairman and Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak says he doesn’t remember a Republican primary or runoff as strong as the one in 2024.

“The most divisive situation I can remember. Most of the money spent. The biggest controversy. The highest number of attacks,” Mackowiak told us in Inside Texas politics.

A record 15 Republican incumbents were unseated during both rounds of the primary, prompting Gov. Greg Abbott to proclaim that he now has enough votes to pass his signature initiative: vouchers.

“So now you’re in a position to be almost absolutely certain that you’re going to get your school choice bill through the House and Senate for the first time in Texas history,” Mackowiak said.

But the top target of far-right Republicans in Texas narrowly survived his race, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan.

The president has come under constant criticism for failing to approve school vouchers during the last legislative session, as well as a handful of other conservative priorities.

And the far-right flank of the party has continually criticized Phelan’s decision to continue the Texas House’s long tradition of assigning committee chairs to both parties.

Immediately after winning the primary runoff, Phelan said he would run for president for a third time.

But Attorney General Ken Paxton has already threatened any House Republican who supports Phelan’s candidacy, so hard feelings among Texas Republicans won’t evaporate anytime soon.

Mackowiak believes Phelan has a chance to succeed, a change in his thinking from just two weeks ago.

But to succeed, Mackowiak says, he will need a large coalition that will almost certainly have to include a large number of Democrats.

“And that would create a lot of problems with the Senate, probably with the Governor. Certainly, the problems were related to the number of Democratic seats he would hold. If school choice would be approved,” Mackowiak said.

Mackowiak also recently lost his own last-second bid to become chairman of the Texas Republican Party.

He says his level of concern is “quite high” for the State party.

While Mackowiak doesn’t think the disarray he sees will affect former President Donald Trump in Texas, it could play a role in the U.S. Senate race between Ted Cruz and Colin Allred, which several recent polls have shown within the margin of error.

“Where the RPT (Republican Party of Texas) comes in, do they have the money to implement an early mail-in voting program? That’s huge. I don’t think they’re going to have the money to do that,” Mackowiak said. “Can you implement the reduced mailing program that all of our candidates depend on? There is a big question about whether they will be able to do that. These things are going to affect the margin.”