Texas’ first special legislative session of the year begins Thursday. Most are expecting Gov. Greg Abbott to make the voting bill that died in the regular session a priority, but he has not yet announced the agenda.
Republican political consultant Brendan Steinhauser says in addition to voting, he expects the governor to make immigration a top issue.
“He’s been very focused on that issue. He’s doing everything from trying to crowdsource funding for the border wall to getting governors around the country to send police officers and support in the form of National Guard troops to the border. He had the former president with him to tour the border a few days ago,” Steinhauser said.
Abbott’s stance on immigration sends a message to Republicans that he is “conservative enough,” despite critiques from members of his own party to the contrary. Much of the criticism has been about his handling of pandemic rules like mask-wearing and stay-at-home orders. Two people are already challenging him in next year’s gubernatorial primary. But Steinhauser says Abbott is well-positioned.
“He’s very aware of these challengers and he’s aware of those attacks. And I think he’s tried to undercut those attacks by pursuing rhetoric and policies that kind of show his conservative bona fides,” he said.
Besides voting and immigration, Steinhauser says Abbott and lawmakers will have to resolve the governor’s veto of legislative funding. He says Abbott is using that funding as leverage to push through the voting bill in the special session.
“He’s using that to basically create some pressure on legislators to get this election bill done,” Steinhauser said. “Certainly it’s a key, critical piece of this entire puzzle.”