Friday, May 25, 2018

From platform apathy to activism in a little over a year

West Texas-based conservative activist Teresa Beckmeyer had an interesting recollection brought to her attention via a "Facebook Memory."

On May 24, 2016, she shared a screenshot of the following tweet from Texas Tribune founder Evan Smith:

Beckmeyer wrote in response: "It's what the grassroots has known for some time---those in positions of influence in the state feel the platform is irrelevant. It's up to the party and its leadership to change that."

Two years later she pointed out: "Hah, this was before James Dickey became RPT Chairman ..."

How to be 'daringly great' even after a political defeat

The Tracker does not take sides in primaries, but we wanted to share one of the most gracious, inspiring, and politically aware messages to supporters following an electoral defeat we've read in a long time.

Donna Davidson, a longtime stalwart of the Republican Party of Texas and a friend to the Travis GOP who lost to fellow conservative Mike Toth in the Texas Republican Party Runoff for Third Court of Appeals Place 6, sent this via email earlier this week. If you have ever had any disgust with the political system, pessimism about the future of the conservative movement, or any feelings of burn-out this will cure what ails you:

Breaking 10,000 votes in a lesser-known runoff: what that means

Image result for 10000

If you kept up at all with the Travis County Republican Primary Runoff you know how Tuesday night turned out. Chip Roy is our nominee to succeed Lamar Smith and Mike Toth is our pick for Third Court of Appeals. Here's the Travis county turnout for those curious:
U. S. Representative District 21  
Matt McCall 36.06%
Chip Roy 63.93% 
2,792 total Travis County votes cast (unofficial count) 
Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals District, Place 6  
Donna Davidson 53.73%
Michael ("Mike") Toth 46.26% 
10,053 total Travis County votes cast (unofficial count)
(Across all counties involved both races were decided by a margin of 47-53%. See more.)
And if you got you get your voting information from the local media, you would have mostly noticed coverage of a gubernatorial runoff and several other races on the Democratic ticket, which naturally dwarfed the county GOP turnout.

Friday, May 18, 2018

5 reasons to vote in the 2018 Primary Runoff

Image result for I voted sticker handOne thing is true about Travis County conservative voters: they're good closers.

Vote counts tend to increase toward the end of the first week of early voting. But in the case of the only week of early voting in the Republican Primary Runoff, voter tallies have been, as expected, anemic (under 6,000 votes by Friday). In an effort to boost our last day of early voting (that's today, Friday, FYI) we put together a list of five reasons why you should care about this year's GOP Primary Runoff -- especially in Travis County:

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Advice for newly elected local officials

Congratulations! (Now time for some schoolin' ...)
Not a small number of Republican voters won their Local Election races on Cinco de Mayo. With that, conservative activist Don Stroud had some "unsolicited advice" for Leander city officials that can easily apply to any officeholder in any locality.

Read below for some nuggets of unapologetic truth from Stroud's Leander Lookout blog, and for the whole list click here.
  • Your objective should not be to get re-elected, bloat your resume, carry water for outside special interests, or to advance your political career. If your objective happens to be any of those reasons, please refrain from taking the oath of office.
  • Make your oath of office more than just good intentions.
  • You are not the employee of the City Manager or city staff.
  • The City Manager is to implement the policy you and the rest of the council determine, not the other way around. ...
Stroud suggests local officials keep the following questions in mind when weighing the pros and cons of every policy decision on the agenda:
  • Is this the constitutional role of government?
  • Does it fulfill the social contract? ...
  • Is this necessary?
  • Is it redundant?
  • Can this best be handled through the private sector? Through outsourcing and effective contract management?
  • Will the proposal or expenditure truly address a problem?
  • What are alternative solutions?
  • Is it good for ALL residents and taxpayers?
  • Does this create more bureaucracy?
  • What enforcement will be required?
  • What are the unintended consequences?
  • Does this abdicate local control?
  • Can private or charitable sectors be enlisted to address the issue? ...

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Austin Republican recognized in comedic style by 'The Daily Show' for 27th Amendment work

I amended the U.S. Constitution and all I got was
this lousy T̶-̶s̶h̶i̶r̶t̶  trophy!
Austin's own Greg Watson told "The Daily Show" on May 1 that he received "absolutely nothing" for his painstaking work in getting the 200-year-lapsed 27th Amendment to the Constitution ratified.

As a University of Texas student, when he discovered that this long-forgotten amendment from the Founding Fathers era (concerning Congressional pay raises) was still eligible for inclusion into the U.S. Constitution by virtue of having no expiration clause, he only received a "C" from his skeptical poli-sci instructor.

Proving his instructor wrong he "pestered, badgered, and cajoled" the members of various state legislatures until in 1992 the Amendment was finally ratified.

So the show gave him a trophy for it, crowned with the number 27! Given, it looks more like a Pinewood Derby award, but for Watson, a longtime legislative staffer and Travis Republican Precinct Chair, we know his real reward was having his grade boosted to an "A+" by UT just last year -- three-and-a-half decades later (which doesn't seem that long considering the amendment dates back to 1789). You can read the entire story here (Tracker, March 13, 2017) and you can watch an actor portray a younger Watson on the Daily Show clip below explaining the entire saga:

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

JP3 voters have a chance to stop liberal judicial activism dead in its tracks

The Republican nominee for Travis County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 apparently has no tolerance for using the people's court as a bully pulpit.

In an unexpected salvo, Martin Harry has filed three grievances with the State Bar of Texas against Sylvia Holmes, the Democrat candidate, for her "lack of judicious temperament." We summarize the grievances below, but if you want more detailed information see Harry's grievance page and his press release.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Some valuable intel on the 2018 May Local Elections

Nestled between the 2018 March Primary and the May 22 Runoff is the local election -- to be held on Cinco de Mayo this year.

Voting in the Local Elections takes place on Saturday, May 5, with early voting from April 23 through May 1. More info is available at

It can be hard for those who don't have their ear to the track of hyper-local politics to know how to vote, but fortunately our friends at the Travis Outrider blog have researched the political affiliations of candidates in the following Travis County local races:


Cedar Park 
Round Rock
Pflugerville ISD 
Lake Travis ISD 

For our readers in Bee Cave and Briarcliff you're on your own for now, but we do have links to all the sample ballots here:


Cedar Park
Round Rock
Lake Travis ISD 

Municipal Utility Districts

The sample ballots indicate which Travis County precincts are having elections. To find your precinct number see your voting registration card or visit

When voting, whether or not you've done your homework, if you encounter a race or a proposition you're not sure about, follow the Travis Tracker's advice:

"When in doubt leave it blank."


Tony Hanson (incumbent for Pflugerville ISD) has proven himself reasonably conservative and has the Tracker's approval.

Patrick Walz (who seems to be the ringleader of a slate of Cedar Park council candidates) is no friend of conservatives, nor civility. See screenshots below:

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling

Recommendations from Williamson County conservative activist Don Stroud for Leander voters here.

Last updated: 1:05 p.m. 4/26

Yeti's anti-conservative stance is nothing new

Gun rights supporters are furious today that a company so linked to the outdoors lifestyle has apparently cut ties with the NRA Foundation. We include Yeti's statement above, which denies any such cancellation, and that it was only the termination of an older discount program.
However it has become apparent that Austin-based Yeti is prone to knee-jerk reactions to liberal protests. See this Aug. 22, 2017, Tracker article on Yeti's pulling its Facebook ads from conservative news service Breitbart. A Twitter screenshot from the article is below:

Whether or not Yeti is home to anti-gun bigots, the fact remains that it does have a hard left orientation that consumers should consider when shopping for insulated containers.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Is Governor Abbott 'more powerful than Putin?' Economically it would seem so

Everything is bigger in Texas

"Texas' economy is larger than Russia -- That makes me more powerful than Putin," Gov. Greg Abbott crowed at the 2018 Travis County Republican Party Reagan Gala on April 13.

Abbott was the keynote speaker at the annual event, which this year honored Travis County Precinct 3 Commissioner Gerald Daugherty and outgoing U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith. Abbott's comment raised some eyebrows as well as the applause level in the historic Driskill Hotel that evening.

How true is the Governor's statement? Is it even close? Here's an interesting analysis:

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The late-comers guide to the 2018 GOP Primary

Hey, wait a minute: the last two weeks were called early voting for a reason. Day-of primary voting is technically on-time. Who are you calling "late?"

We hear you. But in the last Republican Primary 137 more voters cast their ballots early than on primary election day (17,584 early compared to 17,447 on March 10, 2014).

So while half of you reading this have likely already made your decision, there's the other half still waiting. We have you covered.

We urge you to check out the Travis County Republican Party's helpful page on the primary. On it you'll find information on the candidates, links to sample ballots, voters guides, and so much more.

Democrat death rattle becomes an echo as Congressional campaigns run out of ideas

Wait -- isn't she running in CD 31?
(click to enlarge)
The American left is coming to grips with a grim electoral reality.

Their New Deal policies are losing favor with the public, state legislatures are overwhelmingly going red (67-32 chambers), and ill-conceived schemes like Obamacare are turning people to the GOP in droves. And let's not get started on the unpopularity of taxpayer funds for Planned Parenthood!

That jangling noise you hear coming out of that TV in the corner still tuned to MSNBC is the death rattle of the Democratic Party. And recently it's starting to echo.

The left won't go down without making a huge spectacle. They have President Trump's tweets to energize the crowds into their own versions of the Tea Party (e.g. Indivisible, Resist, etc.), they have the Hollywood elite as cheerleaders, and they will pounce on any public tragedy to attack conservatives -- going as far to denounce the prayers of the faithful in wake of the recent, horrific shooting at a Florida public school. Sensationalism is their new game.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Happy Texas Independence Day, Austin style

Today is Texas Independence Day. And what better place to celebrate than right here in the Capital of Texas?

No, you're still unlikely to get today off from work. Your school-aged kids are probably going to be celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday. And you're predictably going to get blank stares from the Californians who keep moving here to escape their former state's crumbling economy.

But there are some incredible events worthy of a true Texan's time today and this weekend -- including a parade, historic re-enactors, a pop-up boot store, a fun run, and even Texas-shaped waffles on Sixth Street. What's not to love about all that?

Friday, February 2, 2018

Who out of 18 candidates will succeed Lamar Smith? CD 21 forum makes picture clearer

The Travis County Republican Party and the Hays County Republican Party teamed up to provide a candidate forum for Congressional District 21. Congressman Lamar Smith is stepping down after this term, and 18 candidates have rushed to fill his shoes in the GOP primary. 

While forums like these have taken place more than once in the heart of the district, up in the eastern "peninsula" -- population-heavy but removed by distance -- meeting the candidates can be a trick. So the Hays GOP and the Travis GOP met on the county line (at the TDS Exotic Game Ranch -- the most creative use of a landfill you'll ever see) to host the event on Thursday, Feb. 1.  Twelve showed up, which isn't bad at all considering the large field.

You can watch the archived Facebook livestream here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

JP candidate comes out swinging on Kleinert case

Harry at the 2018 primary ballot draw.
The U.S. Supreme Court tapped the brakes Tuesday on Travis County’s four-year effort to prosecute Charles Kleinert for the accidental shooting of Larry Jackson Jr. 

The High Court refused to hear the case, which is a victory for the taxpayers and responsible government spending, according to a press release (see below) from the unopposed Republican Primary candidate for Travis County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3.
Martin Harry, Republican candidate for Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3 in Travis County (JP3), alleges Travis County elected officials violated state ethics law, wasted tax dollars and used federal courts to advance a political agenda. 
Today, the United States Supreme Court ended Travis County’s four year failed effort to prosecute Charles Kleinert for the accidental shooting of Larry Jackson, Jr. when it refused to review the case. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Who can best keep the Internet open: Government or the free market?

Guest Editorial by Patrick McGuinness

Some “Net Neutrality” advocates claim this debate is about whether we will have net neutrality and an open internet or not. However, both sides of the issue want what net neutrality delivers -- an open internet. The real debate is over FCC internet regulations, and it can be considered a question of trust: Do we trust markets or Government to ensure an open internet?

For proponents of Government regulation, the impending rollback by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) of regulations they passed in 2015 to control ISPs (Internet Service Providers) is a threat to net neutrality. They believe Government intervention is needed to keep ISPs in line – after all – “if given the chance, large ISPs will use monopoly power to bully suppliers and squeeze consumers for their profit and the detriment of others, right?”


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Union leaders were kinder to the South than Mayor Adler

What would Lincoln do, Mayor Adler?
The very persons responsible for taking the Rebel states captive after the Civil War and initiating Reconstruction were perhaps kinder to the memory of the Confederacy than your average liberal is 152 years after the war.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler conscribed to the ranks of those who have less affinity for the legacy of Southern patriots than even those who pointed their rifles at them. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Adler seceded from the city’s annual Veterans Day parade, which is taking place today.

Why? Not because of the Rebel flag we all recognize. But because lesser-famed Confederate imagery was used to honor the veterans who served to defend the ground underneath our feet during the time when Texas was part of the Confederate States of America (1861-1865).

Across our own Mason-Dixon line of sorts -- the boundary between Williamson and Travis counties -- the WillCo Sheriff is fuming:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November 2017 results are in: Is it time for conservatives to panic?

"Presidents typically face strong headwinds in midterm elections ... Even President Obama – who was elected President by historic margins – lost 6 U.S. Senate seats and 63 U.S. House seats during the 2010 midterm elections."   That's what a White House communique said about last night's "blowout" when Democrats trounced Republicans in many jurisdictions around the nation, particularly in Virginia. We agree that it's the burden of the party in power to prove that it can deliver on its promises, and in politics that can often be difficult as compromise is key to getting legislation passed. That's why mid-term elections are tough on the party in power nationally. This is primarily a local blog (Travis County and Central Texas) so we'll defer to the seasoned analysts at Town Hall for more of what the Nov. 7 election means on the national scene or whether it's a portent of things to come in 2018. (Meanwhile, we're here licking our wounds on losing three school bond opposition campaigns.) There are three factors worth considering if we wish to not only Keep Texas Red but continue making gains throughout the Trump Administration -- as well as to put up any serious challenge to Austin-area Democrats.
1) The Left has its own "tea party" now. The Left has their own Tea Party-like network in the form of Antifa, Indivisible, Flippable, etc. Do not discount this: Lefty candidates are winning without the Democrats lifting a finger, such as Populist Democrat Lee Miller who won handily last night despite being abandoned by the donkey party leadership: 
2) Local liberal races are relying on out-of-state money to win. If the liberals can't win big in 2018 then that means the Democrats will have no choice but to pander toward the Center in future election cycles. To stave off this fear, there was some serious cash being dumped across the country to promote the possibility of winning in 2018, even in local and state lege races. Case in point: this race in which $60 was spent PER VOTE to help a transgender candidate win election. And it apparently worked: 
3) The GOP base isn't as excited as it could be. The Left is charged up and unified in their hatred for President Trump, and that is translating to defeats of Republicans across the country. Exhibit A: Republican Gov. Ed Gillespie was defeated by nearly 9 percentage points. Though Gillespie was hailed as a "unifier," his conciliatory tone did not enthuse our people enough to counter spirited liberal opposition (especially Trump supporters who feel alienated by him). He did not generate more new voters, nor convince enough liberals to swing Republican. The more national GOP leadership stalls on repealing Obamacare and other publicly recognizable conservative reforms the less excited Republican voters will be to take action other than just punching a ballot (if they do so at all). Candidates who energize voters to bring in their friends, neighbors, co-workers and families are the ones who win.
Nov. 7 was not the end of the conservative movement by any means, but if we don't stand firm on Republican values and act on them (in a way that voters across the country understand), it will be increasingly difficult to rise against increased organization and special interest fundraising from the Left in 2018.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Help! I have no idea how to vote on the November 2017 ballot

While we recommend leaving an item blank when you don't know how to vote in a particular race, the Tracker comes out of its short hiatus to draw your attention on a few key ballot items.

For recommendations we suggest Empower Texans' analysis of the Constitutional Amendment propositions and the Travis County GOP's stances on the Austin ISD, Lake Travis ISD, and Leander ISD bond proposals. For any questions on if you are eligible to vote, where to vote, when to vote, etc. please visit

Turnout for these are typically extremely low, and your vote may represent thousands (if not tens of thousands) of those who stayed at home.  So get out there and represent your "district!" And if you have any questions on issues concerning the local races we advise contacting your local precinct GOP chairmen if available.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Houston, Gulf Coast drowning while protestors picket Trump

Yes, that's an 'Impeach' sign
Hurricane Harvey just set a domestic rainfall total record as of this afternoon (51.88 inches at Cedar Bayou), as President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump head to Austin Bergstrom International Airport after a visit to Corpus Christi and Austin to support and address statewide emergency response coordination.

For most people, it's a no-brainer: helping fellow Texans survive and recover from historic-level flooding (with much more to come) is a cause that has no bearing on one's political beliefs or personal preferences. We can argue about FEMA trailers, floodplain zoning, and the merits of the Trump Administration later.

And others? Well, take a look at what those who don't get that are saying this afternoon ...
Guadalupe and Koenig this afternoon, as Trump's motorcade approaches
Thankfully, the great majority of Texans get that it's not about politics: This isn't a chance to promote your pet cause, to denigrate our nation's leaders who are doing their best to help, or to kick flood victims when they're down. It's time to pack sandbags, open our wallets, gather donations of necessary goods, and get to work on what's sure to be a long road to recovery.

Below are some resources we hope you'll be able to use, followed by a message from Gov. Greg Abbott, who called Texas' response so far "nothing short of remarkable." We'll keep this list updated -- if you know of any other compilations of flood relief efforts please leave them in the comments section below and we'll be happy to include them here.

KXAN: Stand Strong Texas

Austin American-Statesman:

Texas Tribune (statewide resources for those assisting and those who need help):

Must Read Texas (subscribe for daily round-up of Harvey news and opportunities)

ALSO ... The Tracker recommends anyone in harm's way download the Zello app for your smartphone ASAP. Search for the channel titled "Texas Search and Rescue" and there you will be able to instantaneously communicate with search-and-rescue workers in your vicinity. More info:

Below is a message from Team Abbott with some helpful links, especially for those in immediate need ...

... As Texas continues to experience heavy rains in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, I want to share some additional information and resources for those affected by the storm.

I have activated the entire Texas National Guard--about 12,000--in order to respond to Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery. The Texas National Guard is working closely with FEMA and federal troops to respond urgently to the growing needs of Texans who have fallen victim to Hurricane Harvey, and the activation of the entire Guard will assist in the efforts already underway.
Check the Texas Hurricane Center page on the Office of the Texas Governor website to see the most up to date list of mandatory and voluntary evacuations. However, if you are living in a flooded area, do not attempt to evacuate by driving your car--doing so will put your life and lives of rescue personnel at risk. Visit the FEMA website for safety tips or call 2-1-1 for evacuation information.

If you need assistance,
 visit the FEMA disaster assistance site or call 800-621-FEMA.

If you need immediate medical attention or emergency evacuation assistance, call 9-1-1. If you cannot get through on the first try, keep calling. You can also call one of five numbers for the Houston Command Center of the United States Coast Guard:

Do not attempt to drive on flooded roadways! Remember, “turn around, don’t drown!” If you need roadside assistance, call
800-525-5555 or 9-1-1 if it is an emergency. Check for flooded roads and road conditions before driving anywhere. Call the Texas Department of Transportation at 800-452-9292 for statewide road closures.

If you are in Houston,
 visit the City of Houston Emergency Information page or call either 3-1-1 or 713-884-3131 for Houston emergency updates.

If you are a hurricane evacuee seeking shelter,
 visit the Red Cross website to find open shelters or call the Red Cross Hotline at 800-733-2767. I have opened Texas State Parks to free camping for hurricane evacuees. Check here for a list and a map of park availability. AirBnB is also providing free accommodations to Harvey evacuees. You can find a free place to stay or offer up your space to evacuees in San Antonio, Austin, or Dallas.

If you have been affected by Harvey in any way, know that Texas has your back during this difficult time. I ask that Texans continue to keep affected regions in their thoughts and prayers as we continue to endure this severe weather event and its tragic effects on our state.


Greg Abbott

Photo credits: Protest photos shared by Leland Freeman via Thanks, Leland!