Abbott v Davis

It’s getting real out there.

Rep. Sarah Davis

In what promises to deepen divisions in the Texas Republican Party, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday endorsed a GOP challenger to incumbent state Rep. Sarah Davis of Houston.

Abbott gave his public thumbs-up to Susanna Dokupil, a more-conservative Republican like Abbott, who is running against the more moderate Davis, who also touts herself as “a conservative voice in Austin.”

The announcement was the first endorsement of a legislative challenger by Abbott, who had announced last summer that he would support legislative candidates who supported his positions on issues. In the past, it has been relatively rare for governors to get involved in legislative races so early — if at all.


Davis, an attorney, has challenged Abbott’s positions on a number of issues in the past year, including the bathroom bill. She has represented a district that includes West University Place for four terms in the Texas House.

“We need leaders in Austin who will join me to build a better future for Texas,” Abbott said in his endorsement statement. “I trust Susanna, and I know voters in House District 134 can trust her too to fight for their needs in Austin, Texas. Susanna is a principled conservative who will be a true champion for the people of House District 134, and I am proud to support her in the upcoming election.”

Dokupil, who is CEO of Paladin Strategies, a strategic communications firm based in Houston, worked for Abbott as assistant solicitor general while he was Texas attorney general, before becoming governor. There, she handled religious liberty issues, he said.

Abbott said he has known Dokupil for more than a decade.

Davis is a part of the House leadership team. She chairs the House General Investigating and Ethics, serves as chair for health and human services issues on the House Appropriations Committee and is a member of the influential Calendars Committee that sets the House schedule.

In a statement, Davis appeared to dismiss the Abbott endorsement of her challenger, who said she represents the views of her district.

“I have always voted my uniquely independent district, and when it comes to campaign season I have always stood on my own, which is why I outperformed Republicans up and down the ballot in the last mid-term election,” Davis said.

This ought to be fun. Davis has survived primary challenges before, though she hasn’t had to fight off the governor as well in those past battles. She is quite right that she generally outperforms the rest of her party in HD134. Not for nothing, but Hillary Clinton stomped Donald Trump in HD134, carrying the district by an even larger margin than Mitt Romney had against President Obama in 2012. If there’s one way to make HD134 a pickup opportunity for Dems in 2018, it’s by ousting Davis in favor of an Abbott/Patrick Trump-loving clone. Perhaps Greg Abbott is unaware that he himself only carried HD134 by two points in 2014, less than half the margin by which he carried Harris County. Bill White won HD134 by three points in 2010. HD134 is a Republican district, but the people there will vote for a Democrat if they sufficiently dislike the Republican in question. This could be the best thing Greg Abbott has ever done for us. The Trib and the Observer, which has more about Davis’ opponent, have more.

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8 Responses to Abbott v Davis

  1. neither here nor there says:

    The Trumpers are trying to purify the GOP.

  2. BillK says:

    It is time Rep. Davis considered a switch away from the Dark Side of the Force to the Democratic Party. We are a big tent and will welcome her with open arms.

  3. Flypusher says:

    Davis is on a very short list of GOPers I would vote for, were I in the right district. I have plenty of Indy, Dem, Dem-leaning friends in her district who think highly of her. I wish her luck in defending her seat.

  4. Sarah Morris says:

    Sarah Davis ran under the Tea Party banner. What a fraud. Time to get the real thing. If she wants to run again, she should run as a Democrat. She would win her district as a Democrat because it is slightly more democrat. There is a reason why the democrats like her, it’s because she is one. She was a democrat just a year or two before running as a republican, when she first ran.

  5. Mainstream says:

    Sarah Davis is not a Democrat, and while Sarah Morris may want a Republican Party so narrow that it excludes Davis, I do not. On issues like Voter ID and taxes and business regulation and immigration enforcement, Sarah Davis is thoroughly Republican and conservative.

    Lots of Republicans voted in 2008 as a part of Operation Chaos in a Democrat primary, so I would not put much stock in that.

    I will be surprised if the Republican Party can hold onto the district with any candidate other than Sarah Davis. So instead of the “real thing”, voters like Sarah Morris are likely to end up with another Ellen Cohen or Debra Danburg voting for that district in Austin.

  6. Mainstream says:

    and as a result of his intrusion into this local campaign, Greg Abbott may not even carry HD 134 in 2018. Although without a credible opponent, he should win easily statewide.

  7. Blake Smyth says:

    Sarah Davis has ALWAYS been on the dark side. Many Texans forced to deal with Sarah through her private practice and/or politically have witnessed her corrupt dysfunction. Texas will be much better off without her!

  8. Blake Smyth says:

    I have dealt with Sarah Davis in her private pratice, as well as in her roll as a state legislature. If you had dealings with the real Sarah Davis, you know her manipulative and dysfunctional history, and you probably prefer to vote for Mickey Mouse rather than Sarah Davis, if given the choice. Before casting a vote, please look further into Sarah Davis’ bizarre and inconsistent voting record, the scum she defends in her private practice (and the horrific tactics she uses to defend the bottom feeders of society), Sarah’s abuse of power as a legislature, in addition to Sarah’s questionable character prior to voting in 2018. Please make an educated and informed decision before voting.

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