The Democrat lawmakers from Texas who abandoned the state earlier this week in an attempt to prevent the GOP legislature from voting on an election-integrity bill are being funded by failed presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and musician Willie Nelson.
O’Rourke, who launched a brief presidential campaign during the 2020 election after failing to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2018, has raised more than $525,000 to cover the Texas Democrats’ expenses during their stay in Washington, D.C., according to the Dallas Morning News.
Nelson, the country music ‘outlaw’ famous for songs like “On the Road Again,” personally donated $5,000, the publication reported. An outspoken left-winger for decades, he has been encouraging others to donate, as well.
The Democratic lawmakers are expected to stay in D.C. for the next month in an effort to deny Republicans the quorum needed to hold a vote on an elections bill.
By engaging in the stall tactics, the state legislators hope that Democrats will be positioned eventually to supersede the state law with their own federal election power-grab, HR1.
“Our commitment is to kill the bill for this session and make the case to the U.S. Senate to embrace the House’s good work,” state Rep. Chris Turner, chair of the Texas House Democratic caucus, said.
“We’re not in any way suggesting that members are going to stay out of the state of Texas for the rest of the year, the next two years,” he added. “Obviously, that’s not realistic.”
State officials, including Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, have said the lawmakers will be arrested upon their return for the state. The Texas House of Representatives also voted to send state law enforcement to D.C. to find the lawmakers, and possibly to arrest them.
“A sergeant-at-arms and any officers appointed by him are directed to send for all absentees whose attendance is not excused, for the purpose of securing and maintaining their attendance, by warrant of arrest if necessary,” Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan said.
Abbott added that Texas Republicans will pass the election-integrity bill one way or the other.
“As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done,” he said of the state Democrats.