Trump verdict, Texas runoff election, abortion ruling: FOX 7 Focus

It has been a very busy week in Texas politics.

In the span of a week, we saw a primary runoff election with House Speaker Dade Phelan narrowly hanging onto his seat, to a major ruling on the state's abortion laws, to the impact of the guilty verdict in former President Donald Trump's criminal trial.

FOX 7 Austin's John Krinjak breaks it all down with Scott Braddock, editor of, in this FOX 7 Focus.

JOHN KRINJAK: So obviously this week, this week's big news, a jury finding former President Donald Trump guilty. 34 felony counts in his New York hush money trial. What impact do you see that having on the political scene here in Texas?

SCOTT BRADDOCK: Here in Texas, it will energize the Republican base, for sure. And just anecdotally, in talking with some of the, Democratic operatives out there, they're not really, planning to drill down on this, at least not yet. I think every. And you'll hate this answer, John, but it's the truth. This just happened. And so I think the and it really is a shock to the system. You know, here in Texas and elsewhere all across the country and in the swing states will keep an eye on what happens there. But I think all of the political world is trying to figure out what this is going to mean.


JOHN KRINJAK: So let's talk about Tuesday's runoff. Despite Trump and so many others, campaigning against House Speaker Dade Phelan, he was able to eke it out in his home district there in Beaumont. What do you make of this outcome?

SCOTT BRADDOCK: You know, it was a slim margin, but a huge win. And the reason I say that is because I can't think of any other Republican officeholder or candidate who would be able to win if they faced opposition from the following people. Donald Trump, who you mentioned, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, the Republican Party of Texas as an entity itself was against Dade Phelan.

JOHN KRINJAK: And Paxton obviously hoping that Phelan would lose as payback, essentially for the House-led impeachment of the A.G., which obviously ended in an acquittal in the Senate. After Phelan won, Paxton tweeted out a statement saying that Phelan stole the election. What do you make of this? Is this feud just going to continue?

SCOTT BRADDOCK: The feud continues. And the fighting within the Republican Party, if you can believe this is just getting started. As nasty as it has been, during the primary and the runoff, I would say it's only going to get worse going forward. And that's not good for Republicans when they do have a general election to run. Coming up, Democrats have a chance to pick up as many as three seats in the fall, basically without even trying. And I can count as high as 8 or 9 seats that the Republicans could lose to Democrats in the Texas House this fall. And for Republicans to be still at each other's throats, not good for them electorally. And what it means for the speaker's race moving forward, into next January. That's an open question.


JOHN KRINJAK: Yeah. I mean, let's talk about that. Just because Phelan retains his seat doesn't mean he's going to get the gavel back. How difficult or easy do you think it'll be to win the speakership again after all this?

SCOTT BRADDOCK: This happened late this week after Phelan secured reelection in Beaumont, Port Arthur. A majority of the Republican caucus said that they will only support a speaker who will agree to ban chairs in the Democratic Party and look, Speaker Phelan, throughout his campaign, he never backed off his promise to continue the tradition of sharing power with the minority party, with the Democrats. But he can still win the speakership. You know, ironically, those who want to get a, you know, get rid of Democratic chairs, they might be forcing Phelan to cut some kind of a deal with Democrats to retain the speakership. It's going to be wild to watch this play up.

JOHN KRINJAK: And obviously wrapped up in all of this is the issue of vouchers. Governor Abbott proclaiming on election night that the Texas legislature now has enough votes to pass school choice. How sure of a thing is that?

SCOTT BRADDOCK: A couple of things. One, the governor's touting the number 77. He says that's how many votes there are in the House to pass the school voucher program. The easy way to say it is that's a made-up number. There's no way to know how many votes there are for a voucher bill in the House until we actually see the bill. And as we said earlier in the interview, as many as three seats could flip to the Democrats in the Texas House. And I can imagine as many as nine going to the Democrats. There's a lot of baseball left to play before we know exactly where everything's going to end up on school vouchers.

JOHN KRINJAK: And as if this wasn't a busy enough political week already, we had a ruling on Friday by the Texas Supreme Court essentially rejecting a major challenge to the state's restrictive abortion laws. Now. Yeah. What impact does that have on all of this?

SCOTT BRADDOCK: I think for those suburban house districts that I mentioned, it's going to be a real issue for Republicans. I think the abortion issue is one that very much, you know, may cause problems for Republicans this fall.

JOHN KRINJAK: All right. Scott Braddock, editor, Scott, as always, thanks for being here. We appreciate your insight.

SCOTT BRADDOCK: It's my pleasure. Thank you.