“It’s unfortunate that somebody advising him didn’t do their due diligence,” said LaRosiliere, who supports Kelley and Bacchus for Plano council. “Had he done his due diligence, he would have been a lot more reticent to jump on their wagons.”
But state Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, who supports Bao, said he welcomed Abbott’s foray into local politics. Shaheen, a former Collin County Commissioner, said he likes “the idea of the Republican Party getting involved in non-partisan, local races.”
“Republicans should endorse local candidates that share their values,” Shaheen said.
Democrats have also become involved in municipal elections.
In 2017 the Texas Democratic Party endorsed candidates in local county races as part of Operation Lift, an initiative designed to boost progressive Democrats running in council, county and school district races that are generally non-partisan.
But much of the recent partisanship has occurred within the Republican Party. While the Collin County GOP does not back candidates in municipal races, their precinct leaders can do so personally.
Abbott’s involvement is an extension of his stake in local government’s actions as he pushes a plan in the Legislature that would potentially cap at 2.5 percent the amount of increased tax revenue local governments can receive from year to year. Big city mayors, including LaRosiliere, have blasted the plan as harmful to essential city services.
Both candidates Abbott endorsed support the governor’s property tax plan.
Bao has helped with Abbott’s political campaigns, and Williams, 43, is the Texas Director of the fledgling Convention of States that Abbott has proposed to make amendments to the Constitution.
The governor said in his public statements that he’s proud to support both local candidates.
“Electing leaders who will fight for limited government and free market principles at the local level has never been more important,” Abbott said in making the recommendations.