Texas State Sen. Wentworth on Conservatism

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Texas State Senator Jeff Wentworth

On Tuesday, a small number of Republican voters in SD-25 (northern San Antonio and Kendall, Comal, and Hays counties) will decide whether Sen. Jeff Wentworth returns to Austin next year. While he claims to defend “our families and our conservative values,” Sen. Wentworth’s idea of “conservative” could win him an Orwell Award for cognitive dissonance.

Take one look at his voting scores, compiled by actual conservatives:

Session 2011 2009 2007 2005 2003 2001
Texas Heritage Alliance 25% 42% 49% 64% 41% 57%
Texas Eagle Forum 44% 24% 36% 28% 33% NA
Young Conservatives of Texas 42% 37% 52% 50% 67% 55%
Texans for Fiscal Responsibility F F 54% NA NA NA

 

Sen. Wentworth’s record is much easier to grasp than his perception of it:

  • He voted for SB 855 (2009), allowing local governments to raise gasoline taxes and add fees for vehicle registration, emissions testing, and driver license renewal.
  • Sen. Wentworth serves on the board of Republicans for Choice, accounting for his 100% voting score by NARAL Pro-Choice Texas in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009. (Source: personal financial disclosures filed with the State of Texas)
  • In 2011’s budget battles, rather than deal with the messy business of belt-tightening by state agencies, Sen. Wentworth voted for a measure forcing businesses to pay their franchise tax in advance—a gross exercise of state power over private business. Of this, another senator opposed to the bill said:

“We really put the squeeze on the people who are barely making it and just barely survive.”

 — Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock)

As conservative voters have awakened to the power they hold in GOP primaries, some go-along legislators have righted their ship. Sen. Wentworth’s record suggests he has no such plans. Further, thanks to a gerrymandered district, he only needs five percent plus one vote in Tuesday’s primary to be assured of another term.

However, that’s all his opponent would need, too.

 

Michael Smith is an activist with the Citizen Leader PAC.