In secretly recorded video, Texas House hopeful Carrie Isaac suggests GOP voters are ignorant, says she knows what it takes to oust a Speaker

Editor’s note: We’ve reached out to Isaac’s campaign and haven’t heard back. Will add any updates if there is other reaction. Also, due to increased interest in Comal County, where this race is playing out, I am making this story free of charge. For daily coverage of Texas politics and government, visit us at Quorum Report  – SB

Texas House hopeful Carrie Isaac

Okay. It has been an open secret in Austin for weeks that there is a secretly recorded video of Texas House GOP hopeful Carrie Isaac in which she talks openly about finding a way to replace Speaker Dade Phelan. That’s the kind of thing that perhaps matters more to insiders than the average voter.

But Quorum Report has now reviewed the video.

As it turns out, Isaac has some things to say that may matter more broadly. Specifically, she does not appear to think very highly of GOP primary voters.

Isaac, wife of former Rep. Jason Isaac, and former New Braunfels Mayor Barron Casteel are locked in battle ahead of the GOP runoff on Tuesday in the newly drawn Texas House District 73 in Comal County. It’s Isaac’s second run for the House.

The video was recorded on March 29 during an afternoon meet and greet event in the district hosted by Isaac’s campaign. She was talking with voters in a public setting. The ethics of such a recording might be debated, but it is not the same as a private meeting in, say, the Office of the Speaker, where there was more of an expectation of secrecy.

The unidentified man speaking with Isaac asked her about a range of subjects important to the GOP electorate including border security, property taxes, abortion, and more. Then when the man said he was deeply disappointed in the loss of former Sen. Don Huffines in his challenge to Gov. Greg Abbott, that’s when Isaac suggested GOP primary voters are ignorant about how campaigns and primaries work.

When the man said he thought Huffines might have had a real chance, Isaac laughed and said “You have too much faith in the voters.”

Isaac told the man that, in her experience, GOP primary voters don’t even know that all the candidates running in the party’s primary are indeed Republicans.

“I cannot tell you how many times someone will tell me ‘ok, well are you a Republican?’” She felt it was frustrating to have to inform the voter that yes, she’s a “conservative Republican” and then they’d agree to vote for her.

“That’s just a little example of voters. They don’t pay attention,” she said. “They don’t!”

She said Abbott was only renominated by Republicans for the Office of the Governor because “they know Abbott’s name.”

“Why do you think incumbents win all the time?” Isaac asked. “Cause voters don’t take the time. It’s hard,” she said. “I don’t mean to badmouth voters but it’s hard to pay attention and vet all the (candidates),” Isaac said. She added that if voters don’t have time to become informed, they should just skip the election.

Isaac agreed with the man, as they sat at a patio table, that it’s unfortunate that the same primary process that produced victories for candidates like Sen. Ted Cruz and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick can also end in wins for candidates like Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn. “It’s swampy,” Isaac said.

As for Isaac’s comments on a potential speaker race, it began with the man in the video telling her that he frequently reads the Texas Scorecard, a website run by Michael Quinn Sullivan on behalf of GOP megadonor Tim Dunn.

Isaac said the Scorecard has asked House candidates if they’re in favor of power sharing in the House including the appointment of Democratic chairmen of major committees. Isaac said she responded to the Scorecard that she doesn’t support those appointments. “Barron (Casteel) did not,” Isaac said.

On the question of voting for Phelan or someone else to preside over the House next session, Isaac’s answer was nuanced.

“If I know that he’s going to be speaker, yes I’m going to vote for him,” Isaac said. “If I know he can win, yes.”

“If I don’t vote for him, he will punish me I’ll get nothing done for you,” Isaac said. “I’ve seen it done over and over.”

But despite laying out that argument for voting for what would be Phelan’s second term as speaker, Isaac hedged and said she’d keep her options open. “I’ve seen them overthrow Straus,” Isaac said. “I know how it’s done.”

Speaker Joe Straus, it must be noted here, wasn’t overthrown but instead served for a decade as the House’s presiding officer before announcing his retirement – on his own terms – in 2017.

Isaac said there’s no reason to take incoming political fire before you know you have enough votes to take down the speaker.

“So, I take it like if I’m in a war, I’m not going to be the first one out there, or one of two or three, to get shot and killed and be worthless,” Isaac said. “I’m going to wait until we have the numbers to overrun him and then I’ll do it.”

“That’s how it’s done,” Isaac said.

“I’ve had so many people get mad at people for voting for the speaker,” but “It’s dumb to vote against the most powerful person in the House when you know they’re gonna win,” Isaac said.

Seeking to assure the man in the video that she has a desire to see a speaker in office who is sufficiently conservative, Isaac said “Just know if I win and I vote for Phelan because he’s the Speaker and he can’t be beat – and I know he can’t – just know that we’re working behind the scenes to get rid of a speaker that’s not conservative.”

“And that’s why the good old boys club establishment is against me,” Isaac said. “I’m not a go along to get along person.”

 

Copyright May 19, 2022, Harvey Kronberg, www.quorumreport.com, All rights are reserved.

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