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The 2022 primary target list

We’re likely to see a significant number of primary challenges in 2022, in all districted offices. That’s partly because 2022 is a post-redistricting year, and with boundaries being shuffled there are always new opportunities for people who find themselves in newly-redrawn districts, partly because party activists have less patience with members who they believe aren’t working in their interests, and partly because some members of the Lege make themselves a target by their actions in the session. To that latter group, let us welcome Rep. Leo Pacheco of San Antonio.

Rep. Leo Pacheco

The Bexar County Democratic Party has censured State Rep. Leo Pacheco, who once served as its chairman, for voting to approve a controversial bill nixing the requirement for Texans to obtain permits to carry handguns.

Pacheco was one of just seven Democrats in the Texas House to vote in favor of the GOP-backed legislation, which is likely to be signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott. Democrats largely opposed the measure, as did gun control groups and some members of law enforcement.

A letter of censure posted Wednesday by the Bexar Democrats points out that the party’s state platform calls for preserving gun rights while “implementing prudent safeguards” to avoid firearm deaths. The platform also calls for prohibiting “open carry of all firearms and repealing ‘campus carry’ policies.”

In an emailed statement, Pacheco’s office declined comment on the letter.

“The representative is waiting until after the end of session to issue any response because his priority is focusing on passing substantive legislation,” the statement said.

Ironically, Rep. Pacheco had previously served as the Bexar County Democratic Party Chair. He was elected in 2018 following the retirement of Rep. Joe Farias. I don’t know a whole lot about his legislative career to this point, which is another way of saying he hadn’t rocked the boat before now. There’s always been a diversity of opinion within the state Democratic Party, more so when there were more Anglo members in rural areas (i.e., prior to 2010, when they were all wiped out in the Republican wave), though the party is more cohesive on a number of issues now. One of those issues is gun control, especially for things like background checks and restrictions on automatic weapons. As we’ve discussed before, public polling data suggests that voters as a whole do not approve of permitless carry, and Democrats really really don’t approve of it. This is what happens when you get out of step with the people you represent.

I will note for the record that while some Democratic reps may have been considering the current political trends when casting their vote on permitless carry, Rep. Pacheco doesn’t really have the same concern. His district voted 55.1 to 40.0 for Hillary Clinton, and 56.2 to 42.4 for Joe Biden. Clinton carried HD118 by 7,233 votes, Biden by 8,380. No shift here.

That doesn’t mean you should start drafting Rep. Pacheco’s political obituary. It doesn’t even guarantee that he’ll face a strong challenger in May or whenever we do get to have our primaries. It does mean he’s on notice, and he’ll either have to do something to make up for this or fight his way through it. We’ll see how it goes for him.

By the way, of the seven Dems who voted for the House permitless carry bill, five were from South Texas/Rio Grande valley districts, which are more rural and shifted towards Trump in 2020, and probably aren’t as out of step on this as Pacheco. The seventh Dem was none other than Harold Dutton, who is on quite a streak here. When the time comes to support a challenger to Dutton, remember that throwing trans kids under the bus isn’t the only reason you have to be mad at him.

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6 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    “A letter of censure posted Wednesday by the Bexar Democrats points out that the party’s state platform calls for preserving gun rights while “implementing prudent safeguards” to avoid firearm deaths. The platform also calls for prohibiting “open carry of all firearms and repealing ‘campus carry’ policies.””

    The party platform calls for preserving gun rights? That seems out of step with the actual ideals of the party. Remember the excitement surrounding Beto? He was going to go house to house to take the guns, and he was VERY well received by the party. I’m imagining Beto and his gun grabbing squad busting down Doris’ door, screaming at her, “Where’s the gun?!?! Give us the gun!!!”

    Why not just be honest and remove that language from the party platform? D’s clearly are NOT interested in preserving gun rights, they’re interested in infringing, in the same way R’s are interested in infringing on the availability of abortions.

    Does anyone here really want to preserve the gun rights of Texans? I don’t think so. Why give lip service to something you don’t believe in? Change the platform to reflect what you actually believe.

  2. Joel says:

    “Remember the excitement surrounding Beto? He was going to go house to house to take the guns, and he was VERY well received by the party. ”

    yeah, that 1% polling that led democrats to nominate him for president says it all.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Joel,

    Kamala was polling around 1% too, and she’s now Vice Resident. Can I remind you that before Biden was selected for the Dems, he too was trailing in the polls? Isn’t it weird that everyone just kind of dropped out to let Biden be anointed? I thought it was weird, almost like the primary was rigged….again.

    https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article240226971.html

    Having said that, I’ll clarify that I was talking about a Texas race, not a national race.

    And now, it’s gut check time…..be honest, do you want to preserve the gun rights of Americans? Really? Do you want to preserve MY gun rights?

    Do you believe that our very own Doris, who admittedly owns a real life weapon of war, and who obtained her weapon of war without a background check, should be able to keep that weapon of war, especially without undergoing a background check?

    Do you believe that future Doris’ should be able to take advantage of “the gun show loophole” and obtain firearms as Doris did, without a background check? That’s what preserving the gun rights of Texans actually means. Do you support that?

  4. Joel says:

    “And now, it’s gut check time…..be honest, do you want to preserve the gun rights of Americans? Really? Do you want to preserve MY gun rights?”

    i agree with justice scalia in heller that the 2nd amendment admits to gun control as being consistent with the right to bear arms.

    it is possible both to preserve “gun rights” and to support gun control, and i do.

    do you think you are smarter or more constitutionally informed than justice scalia?

    ps – that is more of a response from me than your specious comment deserved. you won’t get another.

  5. Lobo says:

    HOW TEXAS DEMS THROW THEMSELVES UNDER THE PROVERBIAL BUS

    Pacheco must have had his reason why he voted the way he did. Presumably he knows his San Antonio’s Southside district and the prevailing sentiments among the 116,859 voting age population (68.7% of whom are Hispanic). And gun policy is hardly the only item his name is associated with. 

    See
    https://capitol.texas.gov/reports/report.aspx? ID=author&LegSess=87R&Code=A3805 

    Nor can he know whether there will be a safe seat once the redistricting is done.
     
    A move to purge the party of all independent thinkers and deviators from the party line is all the Texas Dems need to consign themselves to perpetual failure at the statewide level.

    Mission to be accomplished: Litmus-tested positional purity coupled with irrelevance with respect to all things power.   

    CALLING ALL CIS LATINX FOR THE GREAT PURGE 

    As for the transgender kids “retaliation”, electoral math anyone? —  How many such kids are there, even using a super-liberal definition? How many of them vote?

    And how many parents of transgender kids live in Dutton’s district (pop. 159,541; 81.5% B+H))? Are they an electoral swing vote to reckon with? 

    Finally, let’s spare a thought on the vast modal masses of cisgender voters. How many even know that they are now classified as “cis”? Probably a smaller percentage than Hispanics who have become aware that some intellectual fad fashioners made them into “Latinx” without asking their opinion.

    How many cis people even know what transgender is, and for how many of those in the blessed state of know is this an important-enough issue to base a ballot choice on? 

    Trans didn’t even make the Texas major concerns tabulation in the recent UT/TT poll. 

    The only “trans” item mentioned there is transportation/roads/traffic, and it scored  0%, along with gay marriage, hurricane recovery, and electoral fraud. The zero percent presumably resulted from rounding down due the scarcity of responses. 

  6. Joel says:

    So your point is that there aren’t a lot of voters concerned with these issues, Lobo?

    See how i did that in one sentence?

    Do you think that makes me less of a reader/writer than you? I mean, it’s true, I do literally write less.