A group of Tea Party Republicans from the Texas House have issued an open letter to State Rep. Dan Branch, who's facing a May 27 runoff election with Ken Paxton for the Republican nomination in the Attorney General’s race. The letter asks Branch to drop out of the race. Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) was one of the undersigned and says based on election returns, Branch doesn’t have a chance.
“If we look at who votes in these runoffs, we know it’s going to be grassroots folks, [and] it’s pretty clear from this campaign where the grassroots are," Hughes said. "It seems like the only hope of catching up would be to launch a really nasty, ugly negative campaign.”
Hughes says that isn’t what’s best for the party right now.
"We’re talking about millions of dollars that Branch and Paxton will be raising just for this runoff. That’s money that could be spent in the fall, and how can that be good for anybody to have a bunch of negative attack ads when it’s not going to even change the result?”
Hughes says a negative campaign could potentially widen the gap between Republican voters, whose vote they will need in the fall to defeat Democratic candidate Sam Houston. He says part of this plea is a reaction to the work of Battleground Texas.
“The Republican party has enjoyed a lot of dominance in Texas for a number of cycles now, but it’s no secret that national Democrats are looking at Texas, [and] they are pouring a lot of money here. I think Battleground Texas has a lot to do with this letter. We don’t have the luxury of ignoring Democratic candidates in the fall.”
Branch's campaign manager Enrique Marquez rejected the notion of dropping out, however, saying “Dan Branch will be the next Attorney General of the state of Texas.”