Texas Monthly's list of the Ten Best and Ten Worst Legislators in the 82nd session has finally been released. Who made the cut — and how did our Texas Tribune insiders do with their predictions?
The list was compiled by Texas Monthly's Paul Burka and Nate Blakeslee, who will be discussing their selections at a TribLive event Thursday morning. This was the first Twitter-era reveal of the much-scrutinized list, and each name was tweeted out one by one as lawmakers frantically refreshed their feeds.
Here are some quick observations about the results:
First, there are no Democrats on the "Worst" list this year. In 2005, there were three. In 2007, there were two. In 2009, there were five. This time: none. We've put a call in to Burka to get his reasoning.
Also, there are some repeat performers. Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, and Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, made the "Best" last session as well as this one. The same is true of the appearances by Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, and Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, on the "Worst" list.
Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who famously filibustered her (and everybody else's) way into the special session is on neither list.
As for the insiders that tried their hand at picking the best and worst legislators in the latest Texas Tribune Inside Intelligence survey, they picked three of the same "Best" lawmakers — Duncan, Ogden, Zerwas — and four of the same "Worst" — Solomons, Fraser, Berman and Wentworth. They also accurately chose Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, as a rookie of the year.
Now, here's Texas Monthly's list:
The Ten Best
Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas
Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock
Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth
Rep. Will Hartnett, R-Dallas
Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland
Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan
Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio
Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston
Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo
Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond
The Ten Worst
Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler
Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton
Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, R-Houston
Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay
Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound
Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman
Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton
Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio
Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington
The Bull of the Brazos
Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio
Rookie of the Year
Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston