August 2, 2013
State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, said Friday morning he will seek the GOP nomination in March to succeed Ken Paxton as the state senator for Richardson and much of Collin County.
“I’m getting good responses from the community grass roots and a really positive response from conservative groups statewide,” said Taylor, who’s been in the House since spring 2010. In a special election, he succeeded former Rep. Brian McCall, R-Plano, who went on to head the Texas State University System.
As colleague Tom Benning reported in Friday’s paper here, Paxton is running for attorney general. Paxton has to give up his Senate seat because he received a two-year term earlier this year, when senators drew lots for either two- or four-year terms.
That opens the door for Taylor, a businessman and decorated Iraq War veteran who’s doubly Crimson: He is a graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Business School.
In his short tenure of just over three years in the House, Taylor has been a thorn in the side of Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio. On the state budget and fiscal issues, Taylor has stirred opposition to any fee hikes, revenue increases or significant draw downs of rainy day money — even as large cuts were made to public schools in 2011 and the Texas GOP this year has endured loud questioning of whether it can deliver needed infrastructure for a booming state.
And, as colleague Christy Hoppe enumerated in this May post, Taylor has a uniquely confrontational style that has put off some colleagues. They are mostly Democrats and moderate Republicans, though, so what some may view as a vice may be hailed as pure virtue in a strongly rightward-tilting GOP primary.
In both of the past two regular legislative sessions, Taylor served as a sort of liaison between several anti-tax and fiscal hawk groups who have been critical of Straus and the swelling numbers of House Republicans recently elected with tea party backing.
“I know this will shock you but I think I have a good chance of getting support from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility,” Taylor joshed. The group is headed by fiscal policy gadfly Michael Quinn Sullivan, who uses high-tech messaging and alliances with hard-core social and fiscal conservatives to threaten primary challenges against Republicans deemed too squishy. It’s indeed unlikely that Sullivan will give Taylor a thumbs down as a squish.