AUSTIN, Texas — At the Defending the American Dream Summit organized by Americans for Prosperity last Friday in Dallas, Bob Hall, the Republican nominee for Texas State Senate District 2, gave an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas to share the secrets of his surprise grassroots victory and his thoughts about the upcoming legislative session.
The incumbent, State Senator Bob Duell, had received 48% of the vote in the March primary, compared to Hall’s 39% and the remaining 13% going to another challenger named Mark Thompson. In the May runoff, Hall won by a narrow 300 vote margin. Because there is no Democrat in the race, Hall is expected to easily win the November general election.
Hall described his win as “a true grassroots victory,” pointing out how Duell had spent about a half a million dollars in the primary, while his campaign had “barely scraped together twelve thousand dollars.”
“We went to the people with our conservative values,” said Hall. “The reason I ended up running was, my opponent, who had been in there for eleven years, was ranked…as the most liberal Republican Senator in Texas. So we ran against his record.”
Frustration with Republican legislators with more liberal spending records was cited as an issue in multiple primary elections this year, and Duell was ranked as one of the most liberal Republican senators by the conservative watchdog group Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, earning a score of 53 on their scorecard. TFR endorsed Hall back in January, calling him “a strong conservative leader willing to fight for taxpayers and make government accountable to the people.”
“Texas does not have a revenue problem, Texas has a spending problem,” Hall told Breitbart Texas. “We’re spending too much money on things that people do not want, do not need, cannot afford. Worst of all, we’re going to leave the bills for our children and grandchildren.”
Hall cited as examples of wasteful spending the Texas Enterprise Fund, which he denounced as “picking winners and losers in the private sector with crony capitalism,” as well as the incentives offered to Hollywood movie and music producers to work in Texas.
When asked if there were any causes he believed did deserve funding by the Texas Enterprise Fund, Hall advocated for going back to “a clean sheet approach to the budget and determine with zero based budgeting what money does the state really need in order to accomplish its core functions: to provide education, transportation, police, fire, the judicial system, emergency services, and medical services to the indigent.”
Breitbart Texas asked Hall his thoughts on proper uses for the Rainy Day Fund. During the 2013 legislative session, lawmakers debated using the Rainy Day Fund for a variety of projects, including improvements to transportation and water infrastructure. Hall rejected such ideas, arguing that the Fund should stay narrowly focused on “what it was intended to be…an emergency fund for emergencies, not as the piggy bank to go fund special interest programs.”
Hall had vocally opposed Proposition 6, a constitutional amendment on the November 2013 ballot that authorized the use of about $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to create and administer a state water plan and finance projects under that plan. Hall explained that he was not opposed to the state funding water improvement projects, but did not like the use of the Rainy Day Fund for this purpose. “There’s never a right way do to the wrong thing,” he said. “We need the water study funded, but it should have been funded out of the general revenue…we had an $8 billion surplus that was used instead of being applied where it should have been.”
Hall also mentioned another reason to strictly guard the Rainy Day Fund: our dependence on federal funds, which currently support a significant portion of the Texas budget. “Well over thirty percent, close to forty percent, of our budget comes from the federal government,” he said. “If the federal government money dries up, our budget is in trouble…If the federal government were to default, we would at least have the Rainy Day Fund to fall back on.”
[Disclosures: the author of this article has previously done independent consulting work for Americans for Prosperity. Michael Quinn Sullivan, the chairman of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, is a Breitbart Texas contributor.]
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter at @rumpfshaker.