Challenged from far right in primary, Brady wins, Riddle does not

For a good many years it was hard to find a Republican state lawmaker more outspoken and conservative than Debbie Riddle.

She fought to end all public benefits for the undocumented, pushed hard for voter ID, and filed legislation banning transgender folks from using the bathroom of their choice.

But Tuesday the veteran legislator from Tomball was handily beaten by challenger Valoree Swanson who argued Riddle had abandoned her conservative values.

"If you are going to campaign as a conservative you sure as heck better vote as a conservative in Austin, because we are watching you," said Jared Woodfill, who helped lead the fight successful fight against Houston's HERO ordinance.

Woddfill says Riddle was at the very top of a political hit list backed by his fellow social conservatives.

"We are going after them. Enough is enough. We are sick and tired of making campaign promises consistent with the party platform and then getting into Austin and voting a different way. We are going after those individuals," said Woodfill.

Not far away in the 8th Congressional District, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady survived a spirited primary fight from an opponent fiercely challenging his conservatism.

"If Kevin Brady got in a runoff, he would have been in big trouble," said Wayne Dolcefino, a well-known political advisor and media consultant.

Brady out spent Steve Toth ten to one to keep that from happening.

Dolcefino believes the right wing's tactic of attacking the depth of a candidate's conservatism is destroying the viability of the Republican party.

"Nothing is more insulting to me than the term Rhino, Republican-in-name-only. What the heck does that mean? I know there are Republicans who believe in limited government, who believe in a strong national defense, who believe in responsibility, but also don't want the Republican party dictating everyone's social views," said Dolcefino.

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