House race

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won the 2016 elec­tion with about 54 per­cent of the vote in part by ap­peal­ing to Democrats and out­lin­ing where she and they agree.

“I have al­ways voted my uniquely in­de­pen­dent district, and when it comes to cam­paign sea­son I have al­ways stood on my own, which is why I out­per­formed Repub­li­cans up and down

the bal­lot in the last midterm elec­tion,” Davis said in a state­ment af­ter Ab­bott’s an­nounce­ment. “Repub­li­can vot­ers in HD 134 will not be told for whom to vote, and will not nom­i­nate a candi- date who will be so eas­ily de­feated in the fall be­cause they are a wholly owned sub­sidiary of the ex­trem­ist fringe group Em­power Tex­ans.”

Ab­bott said a day af­ter the sum­mer special ses­sion ended with the Leg­is­la­ture en­act­ing just half of his agenda that he would sup­port GOP chal­lengers to Repub­li­can in­cum­bents who did not back his pri­or­i­ties. Dokupil is the first GOP chal­lenger Ab­bott has en­dorsed.

“It’s a lit­tle sur­pris­ing for the gov­er­nor to get in­volved,” es­pe­cially be­cause the seat isn’t open, said Mark P. Jones, a po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist at Rice. “If Ab­bott is go­ing to go af­ter a Repub­li­can, Sarah Davis is prob­a­bly at the top of the list.”

Davis is fis­cally con­serva- tive and so­cially mod­er­ate, es­pe­cially on is­sues of abor­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and health care, Jones said. That makes her the per­fect rep­re­senta- tive for her mod­er­ate district

but a tar­get in the Repub­li­can pri­mary, where the “me­dian voter” tends to be more con- ser­va­tive than Davis, he said.

If Davis loses the nom­i­na­tion, Democrats will have a bet­ter chance of pick­ing up

the seat, he said. Davis is chair­woman of the House Gen­eral In­vesti- gat­ing and Ethics Com­mit­tee. From that po­si­tion, she has pushed for sev­eral re­forms for more ac­count­abil­ity in state gov­ern­ment. Dur­ing the sum­mer special ses­sion, she and Rep. Lyle Lar­son, R-San An­to­nio, asked Ab­bott to add ethics re­form to the agenda.

Leg­is­la­tion she in­tro­duced would have pro­hib­ited law­mak­ers and elected statewide of­fi­cials from lob­by­ing imme-

di­ately af­ter leav­ing of­fice. Other bills would have given the Texas Ethics Com­mis­sion more over­sight of lo­cal cam

paigns and po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tees inside and out

side the state, in­creased dis­clo­sure re­quire­ments for ven­dors that do busi­ness

with lo­cal govern­ments to iden­tify pos­si­ble con­flicts of in­ter­est, and ex­tended con­flict-of-in­ter­est dis­clo­sure re­quire­ments to mem­bers of gov­ern­ing boards at state agen­cies.

An­other bill would have banned po­lit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions to the leg­isla­tive and ex­ec­u­tive branches dur­ing special ses­sions and 20-day veto pe­ri­ods.

An Ab­bott spokesman said at the time that Davis and Lar­son were “show­boat­ing over pro­pos­als that are not on the gov­er­nor’s call.”

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