State Rep. Stefani Carter Loses "TeaApproved" Status

Voting for incumbent Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, did not come without consequences for state Rep. Stefani Carter, R-Dallas. It cost her "TeaApproved" status from the North Texas Tea Party.

The group grants the label to local politicians it believes will represent its principles, and that does not include supporting Straus. Case in point? McKinney Republican state Rep. Ken Paxton, who challenged Straus, is "TeaApproved." 

Carter was the only "TeaApproved" representative to vote for Straus. The others — Plano state Rep. Van Taylor, Mesquite state Rep. Cindy Burkett, Parker state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, and Paxton — were all among the 15 Republicans who voted against him. But, according to a blog post on the North Texas Tea Party website, this is about more than just the vote.

They write:

"The action was based not only from the actual vote for Joe Straus, in opposition to vast majority of input she received from her constituents and supporters, but her lack of honesty and forthrightness in discussions after the election, as well as revelations of events before the election."

Those alleged revelations: Carter failed to disclose to constituents that she had already pledged support to Straus when they grilled her on it in August.

"I know they feel disappointed," Carter says. "I do think the course of the session will make clear that I am a true conservative, just as I campaigned on." Carter considers many Tea Party members friends, and she says she looks forward to talking to them directly.

On Jan. 19, only two people at a meeting of more than 90 group members voted against revoking her status. Despite the overwhelming decision to take back their approval, the group says if Carter chooses, she can still return to the fold.

Here's more from the group's announcement:

"This action is not necessarily permanent and Stefani is more than welcome to reapply for ‘TeaApproved’ status after the end of the term. Indeed, we take this action now, not only to express our distaste for recent events, but also to provide Stefani plenty of ‘lead time’ to correct what we fervently hope were the missteps due to inexperience. However, it will take both a proven record of conservative governance and a commitment to — with evidence of — a new level of forthrightness to not only us, but to the constituency as a whole."

The group maintains that Carter is still preferable to her predecessor, former state Rep. Carol Kent, D-Dallas. But, they warn, without "significant improvement" from Carter, they will have to seek a "more forthright, consistent, proven conservative during the next primary process."

Carter says, "The Tea Party was very important to me in my election, and I'm looking forward to earning its support in the next election."

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