Texas Senate More Conservative Than House

Texas Senate
Senate chamber of the Legislature of the State of Texas inside the Texas State Capitol | Image by michelmond/Shutterstock

The Texas Senate was more conservative this year than the Texas House, according to new rankings obtained exclusively by The Dallas Express.

The 88th Texas legislative ratings from the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) assigned the Senate a score of 57.6 and gave the House a 50.7, with the higher number signifying a more conservative disposition. Senate Republicans received a score of 77.3, and House Republicans got a score of 73.6.

According to YCT, the five least conservative members among Texas House Republicans were Reps. Charlie Garen (Fort Worth) at 51, Ken King (Canadian) at 51, Drew Darby (San Angelo) at 54, Hugh Shine (Bell) at 55, and Todd Hunter (Corpus Christi) at 56.

The five least conservative Texas Senate Republicans were Sens. Robert Nichols (Jacksonville) at 67, Joan Huffman (Houston) at 72, Brian Birdwell (Granbury) at 72, Pete Flores (Pleasanton) at 72, and Donna Campbell (New Braunfels) at 73.

The rankings were decided based on a selection of votes on bills that YCT said align with conservative principles. Nate Dunning, the state chairman for YCT, said his group’s biannual ranking aims to hold lawmakers accountable for campaign promises.

“For over 40 years, YCT’s ratings have served as a compass for the conservative movement in Texas,” Dunning told The Dallas Express. “We evaluate legislators based on their dedication to fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, and constitutional governance. Our goal is to empower the public with valuable insights, enabling them to actively engage with their representatives and advocate for policies that uphold the principles Texans hold dear.”

Texas Democrats similarly scored on the more conservative end in the Senate, with an overall ranking of 26.3, which topped the House Democrats’ ranking of 19.8.

The five least conservative Democrats in the Senate were Sens. Sarah Eckhardt (Austin) at 16, Nathan Johnson (Dallas) at 22, José Menéndez (San Antonio) at 23, Borris Miles (Houston) at 25, and Judith Zaffirini (Laredo) at 25. The five least conservative Democrats in the House were Reps. Toni Rose (Dallas) at 10, Jolanda Jones (Houston) at 10, Mihaela Plesa (Dallas) at 11, Erin Zwiener (Driftwood) at 13, and Venton Jones (Dallas) at 13.

Top Republicans scored well in both chambers, with the House having an edge in the top tier. The top five ranked Republican House members were Reps. Steve Toth (The Woodlands) at 99, Richard Hayes (Denton) at 98, Brian Harrison (Midlothian) at 97, Tony Tinderholt (Arlington) at 96, and Carrie Isaac (Dripping Springs) at 96. The top-ranked Republican senators were Sens. Brian Hughes (Mineola) at 93, Bob Hall (Edgewood) at 92, Mayes Middleton (Galveston) at 88, Drew Springer (Muenster) at 82, and Lois Kolkhorst (Brenham) at 78.

Kevin Crusius, the vice chairman of political affairs at YCT, said he is proud of the conservative victories passed in the regular legislative session this year.

“In a time when campaign rhetoric often tells us very little and many lawmakers seem to shirk from transparency, we take pride in informing the public of their representative’s and senator’s positions on crucial issues,” Crusius told The Dallas Express. “The 88th Legislature saw significant conservative victories on issues, particularly prohibiting DEI programs in universities and protecting children from the radical LGBTQ agenda, many bills passed into law that eroded the conservative principle of limited government.”

Gov. Greg Abbott has called the Texas Legislature together for a special session this month to pass laws on school choice, border security, and medical autonomy, as reported by The Dallas Express.

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