We have completed scorecards for 51 state houses in 26 states thus far (thanks for throwing those numbers off, Nebraska), and with an aggregate score of -21%, the Texas State House graded out as one of the most regressive bodies when it came to firearms legislation during the 2017 session. Anchoring the Texas House are a group of Republicans that accumulated some of the worst scores we gave, and in that group is Rep. Matt Rinaldi of House District 115.
Chances are, though, if you've heard of Rep. Rinaldi, it wasn't because you saw his name at the bottom of our scorecard. Instead, it's likely because he's the guy that did this:
Lawmakers scuffled on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives on Monday after a Dallas-area Republican told Democrats that he called Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on protesters in the House gallery.
“We were just on the floor talking about the SB4 protests, and [state Rep.] Matt Rinaldi came up to us and made it a point to say, ‘I called (ICE) on all of them,’ ” state Rep. Philip Cortez (D) said. “And this is completely unacceptable. We will not be intimidated. We will not be disrespected.”
It gets worse, but we're not here to litigate Rep. Rinaldi's deplorable behavior. Suffice to say, if you want to know more, the story is all over the internet. Instead, we want to highlight our newest endorsement, Rinaldi's Democratic opponent, Julie Johnson.
A Texan for more than three decades, Johnson works as an attorney on civil litigation and family law. She lives in Dallas with her wife and two sons, and has already received the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign:
“Julie Johnson is a champion for working families who will fight for every day Texans,” said HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “We proudly endorse her candidacy to represent Texas House District 115 and look forward to working with another strong, pro-equality voice in the Texas Legislature.”
Rinaldi's extreme behavior and voting record don't mesh with what is a very competitive House District. HD-115 is an incredibly diverse district centered in the Dallas area, and Rinaldi won reelection in a much more favorable environment in 2016 by only 1,000 votes and raised a relatively small $144,000 for his campaign. He is vulnerable, he is beatable, and Julie Johnson is a vastly superior candidate, not only for our purposes here, but for the people of Dallas.
Johnson's campaign website can be found HERE.