Abbott’s Secretary of State Pick Worries Left
This week Governor Greg Abbott announced the appointment of Ruth Ruggero Hughs to Secretary of State, an appointment that comes nearly three months after the position was vacated. Hughs’ appointment appears to bug the left.
Abbott’s former appointee to the post, David Whitley resigned after the Senate refused to confirm his nomination, this despite the Governor and Whitely working to appease the rabid left. Opposition to Whitley and the administration of the Office of the Secretary of State during his tenure was pure political theater.
The theater was driven in large part by members of a more and more transparently agenda-driven media, which has been harassing Abbott to appoint a new secretary over the past several weeks.
This intervention of the media is not a departure from how they have handled Abbott and the secretary of state since January when it was announced that Texas county election officials were being tasked with confirming the eligibility of voters.
Specifically, county election officials were to verify the citizenship status of voters identified in DPS database records as non-citizens. All of these individuals were registered to vote and many were voting.
Despite leftwing organizations suing to stop the effort, it was successful. During hearings held in San Antonio secretary of state officials testified that non-citizens had come forward and asked to be removed from voter rolls, some of whom had voted.
Assinie media narratives suggesting Abbott was targeting Hispanic voters have been disproven, oddly enough by the left’s efforts to prove the point. Emails released by leftwing groups in June showed the Governor’s office was working to protect newly naturalized citizens who might be identified in DPS records as non-citizens by excluding them from maintenance activities.
The list maintenance effort was hamstrung by a public relations backlash given oxygen by data issues stemming from faulty intergovernmental communications, and exacerbated by the fact that this and similar list maintenance efforts have been, as a matter of course, spiked by the left.
Hughs, like Whitley, comes from Abbott’s immediate universe. Before her appointment to the Texas Workforce Commission, Hughs was a long-serving member of Abbott’s staff in the Attorney General’s office.
Attention from the left is on the newly appointed Hughes and it’s time for her to pick up where the Whitley left off. Fear of the left should not dictate good public policy.
Far-left activists at the Texas Observer following Hughes’ appointment criticized her for stonewalling media entreaties during her time on the Texas Workforce Commission. The suggestion is that Hughes will use her wide-ranging power to administer elections fairly by tightening up loosey-goosey areas of current election administration all while stiff-arming adversaries.
In the second line of a release announcing the selection of Hughes, Abbott stated, “The Secretary serves as Chief Election Officer for Texas, assisting county election officials and ensuring the uniform application and interpretation of election laws throughout Texas.”
This hat tip and seeming prioritization of elections could be an indicator that Hughes like Whitley will be focused on the administration of elections in Texas. Previous secretaries of state with a few exceptions have appeared more perfunctory, tending to elevate diplomatic responsibilities over what is arguably the most important roles the office oversees.
Left-wing activists are already working to undermine the next election in Texas by suing to stop ballot review boards from disqualifying questionable ballots. Similar efforts are likely to come online 2020 approaches.