Abbott’s School Choice ‘RINO Hunt’ Seeks To Land Big Game

Gov. Greg Abbott | Image by Carrington Tatum/Shutterstock

A new poll shows that Republican primary voters in Texas are more likely to vote for House candidates endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott, who has been vocal about supporting pro-school choice candidates.

The poll was published by the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston and covered a range of sentiments expressed by prospective Republican primary voters in Texas.

According to the poll, some 64% of those surveyed “would, all other things equal, be more likely to vote for a Texas House candidate endorsed by Greg Abbott, compared to 14% who would be less likely.”

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Abbott has been throwing his weight behind roughly a dozen candidates seeking to unseat some of the Republican House incumbents who voted to kill school choice legislation last year that would have allowed families to use taxpayer money to cover the costs associated with private school and homeschooling.

Relatedly, the poll also found that about 60% of Republican primary voters would be less likely to vote for an incumbent Texas House representative if they cast a vote against school choice. These numbers remained consistent regardless of whether the respondent lived in rural or suburban Texas.

Endorsements from other high-profile Republicans would also purportedly have an impact on the primary, with the poll indicating that prospective Republican voters would take cues from former President Donald Trump and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

“70% of Republican primary voters would, all other things equal, be more likely to vote for a Texas House candidate endorsed by Donald Trump, compared to 12% who would be less likely,” the poll found.

“Frankly, school choice is the civil rights statement of the year, of the decade, and probably beyond, because all children have to have access to quality education,” Trump said back in 2020.

Opponents of school choice claim such a policy would divert taxpayer money from traditional public schools, complicating matters for districts already struggling to provide students with a quality education.

“One thing that I can guarantee is if private school subsidies are part of this state, we will never have enough money in public education to pay our teachers what they are worth,” Elizalde claimed at a Dallas Regional Chamber event in September in 2023, according to KERA News.

Roughly 41% of Dallas ISD students scored at grade level on their STAAR exams in 2021-2022, with almost 20% of graduating seniors failing to earn their diploma in four years.

Other polls have suggested that some kind of statewide school choice policy is popular across many demographics, with black and Hispanic Texans appearing to show the most enthusiasm.

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