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Teach the Vote Guide to Endorsements in the 2024 Texas Primaries

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 2/22/2024

Your mailbox, email inbox, voicemail, and answering machine are likely to be filled with campaign literature. As you review campaign materials, it’s helpful to know which organizations are making endorsements and what they stand for. Here’s Teach the Vote’s guide to organizations making public education-related endorsements and engaging in campaign activities related to public education.

Pro-Public Education

Candidates who have received the support of one or more of these organizations have the notation “Supported by one or more pro-public education organizations in the 2024 Texas primaries” on their candidate profiles.

Raise Your Hand Texas

Raise Your Hand Texas—a nonpartisan nonprofit organization supporting public policy solutions that invest in Texas’ 5.4 million public school students—has recognized 100 legislators as “Public Education Champions” for their commitment to Texas public education during the 88th Legislature. From the RYHT website: “They continued to stay strong and denounce vouchers, even when out-of-state interests tried to convince some state leaders that vouchers (aka education savings accounts) should be their number one priority for education this Session – despite the well-established need to address school safety, teacher salaries, and rising costs due to inflation. Saying no to vouchers is fundamental to protecting and preserving an education system that is committed to each and every student. The recipients of the Public Education Champion Award withstood intense political pressure in order to do right by families, schools, and communities, and took votes to prevent vouchers in Texas.”

Raise Your Hand Texas Public Education Champion Award Recipients

Texas Parent PAC

Texas Parent PAC is a respected political action committee for parents, grandparents, parents-to-be, and anyone who supports high-quality public education. It was founded in 2005 by five “PTA moms” who were frustrated with the Texas Legislature, concerned about attempts to implement a private school voucher program in Texas, and believed the state needed more state representatives and senators who would stand up for kids and public schools. About 60 parents are involved in researching and interviewing candidates in each election cycle. Final decisions on endorsements are made by an eight-member Board of Directors.

Endorsement Process

Texas PTA

Texas PTA has recognized 84 House members as “Champions for Children” in recognition of “their unparalleled courage in safeguarding our public schools and keeping tax dollars where they belong” (i.e., voting against private school vouchers).

Texas PTA Champions for Children

Anti-Public Education

Candidates who have received the support of one or more of these organizations have the notation “Supported by one or more anti-public education organizations or individuals in the 2024 Texas primaries” on their candidate profiles.

American Federation for Children (AFC)/Texas Federation for Children/AFC-Victory Fund

The American Federation for Children (AFC) is a national pro-voucher advocacy group founded by and largely funded by former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. AFC, its Texas branch, Texas Federation for Children, and its PAC, American Federation for Children (AFC)-Victory Fund, have been sending mailers targeting pro-public education candidates in the 2024 primaries because of their opposition to vouchers during recent legislative sessions.

Endorsements/Targets: AFC-Victory Fund has not endorsed candidates but has said it is targeting specific incumbents with negative ads (source and source).

Americans for Prosperity (AFP)

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a national conservative advocacy group founded by the billionaire Koch brothers. Private school vouchers are one of AFP’s main advocacy issues and have been the driving force behind the group’s advocacy in Texas in the 2024 primary. The group has been responsible for mailers this election season identifying pro-public education candidates as “grinches” who denied funding to students, as well as other mailers attacking pro-public education candidates.


Defend Texas Liberty

Defend Texas Liberty is a political action committee (PAC) that donates to far-right conservatives and advocates for conservative causes, including pro-voucher candidates. One of its best-known donations was a $3 million donation to Lt. Gov Dan Patrick (R) right before he presided over the impeachment trial of Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), a trial that Defend Texas Liberty loudly opposed. Patrick himself is involved in supporting pro-voucher candidates this election cycle, and Defend Texas Liberty supported many pro-voucher candidates in the 2022 election cycle (see Part 1 and Part 2 from 2022 Teach the Vote coverage).


Empower Texans/Texans for Fiscal Responsibility/Texas Scorecard

Empower Texans was a far-right conservative advocacy group active from 2006 to 2020. Its primary funders included West Texas billionaires Tim Dunn, Farris Wilks, and Dan Wilks. The group is best known for its shady tactics involving election mailers, investigating schools and districts for “electioneering,” and secret recordings of elected officials. The organization dissolved in 2020 and shifted its funding to offshoot organizations.

Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR) is an offshoot organization of Empower Texans that fights for “pro-taxpayer” legislation and reform. The group endorses candidates and publishes a “Fiscal Responsibility Index,” which seeks to hold legislators responsible for their votes on fiscal and budget issues, including funding for private schools.

Texas Scorecard is the media branch of the Empower Texans tree. The organization employs journalists who report on Texas government from the extreme right-wing viewpoint of their primary funders, both in print and video form through 1836 Studios. The publisher is former Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan. The outlet’s media credentials in the Texas Legislature have been a topic of debate, with credentials granted in the Senate but denied in the lower chamber by House Administrations Chair Charlie Geren (R–Fort Worth) due to Texas Scorecard’s advocacy efforts and ties to a political action committee.


Gov. Greg Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott is targeting the opponents of House Republicans who voted for the Raney Amendment to strip vouchers from a school finance bill during the fourth special session.


Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Texas Senate, announced Feb. 15 that he was endorsing the opponents of four House Republican incumbents, all of whom voted for the pro-public education Raney Amendment to strip vouchers from a school finance bill during the fourth special session. Patrick had previously stated he would not engage in House members' elections.


School Freedom Fund

School Freedom Fund is a pro-voucher PAC affiliated with the national anti-tax organization Club for Growth. The group has spent $1.15 million this cycle on TV ads in eight Texas House districts (1, 11, 18, 55, 58, 60, 62, and 121) targeting pro-public school candidates. The group is primarily funded by Pennsylvania billionaire Jeff Yass, who has also donated substantial funds to the American Federation for Children as well as made a $6 million campaign contribution in December to Gov. Greg Abbott (R).


Texas Home School Coalition

Texas Home School Coalition is a pro-homeschool Texas advocacy group that exists to help current and potential homeschool parents find resources to withdraw from public school and homeschool their children. The group supports vouchers and advocates for voucher legislation that will not infringe on parental rights in homeschooling while also advocating for homeschoolers to be included in any potential voucher.





Abbott and Cruz are acting like dictators. Time for new leadership in Texas! Hesitate to list my name. May end up on the Abbott/Cruz Blacklist!


Ted Cruz has endorsed pro voucher candidates as well.

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