Fugitive Dem State Rep Returns to Texas, Hasn’t Been Arrested as Gov. Abbott Promised

A fugitive quorum-breaking Democratic State Rep has returned to Texas from Washington, D.C. and hasn’t been arrested as Republican Gov. Greg Abbott promised.

As the Austin American-Statesman put it, Abbott had vowed to arrest absent members upon their return to the state, but both Rep. Philip Cortez and Rep. Harold Dutton have returned voluntarily without incident.

Dutton was not one of the original 57 Democrats who broke quorum last week, however. He had joined the others after the initial getaway to Washington for several days before returning home.

In announcing his return in a tweet on Wednesday, Cortez said, “I respect and stood with my Democratic colleagues in Washington DC. I stand by my convictions about full and open access to voting for all Texans. I’m here to work on that immediately.”

Cortez added in a statement that he intended to “engage in good-faith dialogue about the aspects of the bill that I, and others, think are harmful.” 

In the statement, Cortez also claimed that “A small working group of Democrats decided to begin active discussions here in Austin on improving (House Bill 3) and asked that I return to establish open communication lines.”

That came as a surprise to Rep. Gina Hinojosa, who responded to a tweet that reported that very part of the statement.

“To be clear, he is not negotiating on our behalf. He made the decision to rejoin Republicans without speaking to the Dem delegation,” Hinojosa stated.

Verified Twitter user Kambree responded to Hinojosa and suggested, “So he is doing his job and you are not. Got it.”

Hinojosa wasn’t the only Rep. that was surprised by the move, as the Austin American-Statesman reported:

Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, said that Cortez’s 4:41 p.m. tweet was the first she heard that Cortez had returned. 

“That was news to us that we had an emissary,” Israel told the American-Statesman.”I didn’t know we had one, and I don’t know what would be the point.”

“The governor is scoring political points off of us like a piñata. He’s raising money, he’s trying to show his Republicans how tough he is. They’re entrenched. I don’t see what would be the point of an emissary politically. If you just think through it, I don’t get it,” Israel said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *