Texas Association of Realtors: Liberal Republican

Tribe: Liberal Republican

The Texas Association of REALTORS and their associated PACs are arguably the most well-funded in the state, as more money passed  through them in the 2016 election cycle than any other PAC. The Realtors are also one of the most well-known interest groups in Austin, and have been for years.

Their legislative priorities usually tend to align with the Conservative Republican wing of the House, yet their giving heavily favors Liberal Republicans. The reason? Texas Association of Realtors likes having a seat at the table. They likely believe they must have one in order to get things done.

It’s no secret that the established leadership structure in the Texas House revolves around pay-to-play. Rather than working to change this fact, the Realtors have made the strategic decision to operate within this framework.

A quick look at the top ten recipients of Texas Association of Realtor dollars in the Texas House shows a clear bent toward supporting the Liberal Republican tribe.

Top Ten Texas House Recipients – 2016 Cycle
Justin Holland $150,000
Joe Straus $75,000
Charlie Geren $70,000
Jason Villalba $37,500
Rodney Anderson $37,500
John Kuempel $30,000
Byron Cook $25,000
Drew Darby $25,000
Dennis Bonnen $22,500
Cindy Burkett $25,000
Total $492,500

***Shown are the top ten supported  candidates who won the office they sought, as they have votes to examine from the 85th Legislative Session.


Pro-Realtor Spin:

While the Texas Association of Realtors doesn’t notch massive wins every session, they rarely lose the big fights they weigh in on. With a war chest rivaled only by Governor Greg Abbott, the Realtors have the money and network to take on almost any issue. Their decision to invest money in House Leadership allows them to have a seat at the table, from which they believe they can protect Texas homeowners and advance their cause.


Anti-Realtor Spin:

The Texas Association of Realtors claims to fight on behalf of property owners, yet invests heavily in members of the Texas Legislature who advocate most fervently to increase homeowners’ tax burden. Opponents of the Realtors often argue that with such a large stockpile of money and networks in virtually every city across Texas, they should do more to change the direction of the state. Instead, their investment in the existing leadership structure in the Texas House perpetuates the slow rolling of reforms and puts the well-being of citizens behind the comfort of legislators.


The Bottom Line:

The Texas Association of Realtors, while claiming to be in favor of conservative reforms, spends their money backing Liberal Republicans. As such, their only real legislative results tend to be on the liberal end of the policy spectrum. Their calculated judgement is that aligning with and financially supporting House Leadership will ensure the demise of bills they don’t like. If that also means more conservative reforms die as a result of liberal House Leadership, then so be it.

A voter who sees a large infusion of cash from the Realtors to a particular candidate can likely assume one of two things: either that candidate is a realtor themselves (the Realtors do spend big trying to get professional realtors elected), or they’re a part of the Liberal Republican tribe in the Texas House that kills all the reforms the Realtors claim to want.


Up Next:

Associated Republicans of Texas PAC: Moderate Republic Tribe


An Easy Guide to the Big Money PACs in Texas Politics – In this Series:

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