New Ad Claims Dade Phelan ‘Betrays the Blue’

Screengrab from political ad launchine Wednesday | Image by Club for Growth Action
Screengrab from political ad launchine Wednesday | Image by Club for Growth Action

EXCLUSIVE — A political advertisement set to launch Wednesday describes Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan as a “liberal” lawmaker who “backs the criminals” and “betrays the blue.”

The Club for Growth Action ad features Matt Ortego, a constable officer in Orange County, who describes how he previously supported Phelan (R-Beaumont) but now feels the lawmaker “sold out.”

“Politics is costing law enforcement their lives,” he said in the ad. “When you appoint these radical left Democrats to the criminal justice committee, I have an issue with that. It’s not what’s in the best interest of your people here in southeast Texas.”

Phelan appointed Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) to head the House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee and Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) to head the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee last year. Both members voted against HB 1900 in 2021, which put tax restrictions on major Texas cities that reduce law enforcement budgets.

Ortego also criticized Phelan for his support of HB 1267 in 2015, which ended a lifetime ban on specific types of welfare payments to people with drug-related felony convictions.

“And it really shocks me that Dade Phelan voted to give welfare benefits to convicted felons,” he said. “This sends the message of, ‘Go ahead, commit a crime. It’s going to be okay because we’re going to take care of you.’ It’s a slap in the face to all law enforcement across southeast Texas.”

Phelan later voted against final passage of HB 1267 after amendments were added. His office did not respond to a request for comment.

The embattled speaker, who also led efforts to spike a school choice bill backed by Gov. Greg Abbott last year, as previously reported by The Dallas Express, is facing a primary runoff election on May 28.

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