The late Texan writer Molly Ivins famously quipped, “Good thing we’ve still got politics in Texas—finest form of free entertainment ever invented.” In these grim and angry days, “entertainment” is perhaps not the first word to come to mind. Insurrection, violence, Ted Cruz’s podcast—none of these brings the warm fuzzies. Current events have assumed a surreal, almost hallucinatory nature: Did Greg Abbott really seem to lament that shooting unarmed immigrants was off-limits? Did a state representative really propose a duel to big-hatted agriculture commissioner Sid Miller? Did actual neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes really meet with some of the most powerful Republican operatives in Texas?

Still, we must muster the courage to stare into the abyss, to find levity in the madness. Even if We the People aren’t always having a great time, the candidates seeking to lead us often seem to be having a blast. This primary season offers an unusually large crop of scoundrels, weirdos, and ne’er-do-wells to contemplate, particularly on the ever-lively Republican primary side—prompting the perennial question, Where do they find these people? Attorney General Ken Paxton deserves special credit for the slate of candidates he’s endorsed to challenge fellow Republicans who supported his impeachment on corruption charges: an overripe smorgasbord of January 6 rioters, internet trolls, and MAGA true believers. Revenge, it seems, is a dish best served with a side of WTF.

Bookmark this story—I have a feeling we’ll be hearing more from these folks. 

Brandon Herrera

U.S. House District 23 

The race

A prominent YouTuber, Herrera is one of four Republican challengers seeking to unseat Tony Gonzales, a two-term GOP incumbent who has angered some on the right by voting to repeal the federal ban on same-sex marriage. Gonzales was also censured by the Texas GOP for supporting a modest gun control bill in the wake of the Uvalde massacre. Gonzales represents the huge, solidly Republican Twenty-third Congressional District, which is larger than most U.S. states. It stretches from San Antonio to Uvalde to El Paso, sweeping up more than eight hundred miles of Texas-Mexico border along the way. 

Claim to fame

Herrera’s nom de YouTube is “the AK Guy.” A San Antonio–based firearms manufacturer with an impressive collection of muscle shirts and a head of silken brown hair that would instantly set him apart in gray D.C., he has amassed a sizable following on the video platform. He has 3.2 million subscribers to his channel, which offers a mix of kinetic stunts (“Testing The Gun That Killed Abraham Lincoln”), gun-nerd indulgences (reviewing firearm memes with Kyle Rittenhouse), and right-wing provocation (“I Crashed An Anti-Gun Protest”). It’s the sort of channel the algorithm leads you to when you’re halfway down the conspiracy rabbit hole—somewhere between Jordan Peterson and 4chan.

Herrera may be one of the first content creators in Texas to try to parlay his viral fame into a seat in Congress. Which is a sign something is off about him. Why would you trade shooting M60s at cans of White Claw for taking potshots at Adam Schiff from your rookie seat on the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet? 

Herrera describes his politics as “libertarian-leaning,” though his closest political ties seem to be with far-right provocateurs such as Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Light on specifics, Herrera’s general pitch seems to be “I’m based.”

How it started

Herrera launched his campaign in August at the Young Americans for Liberty conference in Florida, where he was greeted with rapturous applause and chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” A YouTube video dropped shortly thereafter, in which Herrera promised his followers that his candidacy was not just another stunt. “No, this is not a joke. No, this is not satire.” 

His campaign, at least at first, had the slick, glib vibe of that of a successful influencer. His slogan was “Let’s Go Brandon” (right-wing shorthand for “F— Joe Biden”). His campaign website once featured a glamour shot of a besuited, tieless Herrera wielding an M249 machine gun and gazing seriously at the camera—Tony Montana with a super PAC. 

How it’s going

In December, Herrera held a campaign event at a restaurant in Uvalde, the city where nineteen children and two teachers had been massacred a year and a half before by a teenager wielding a legally purchased AR-15-style rifle. The political gathering made headlines after Herrera allegedly left behind an “inactive explosive device”—a spent shell of some sort—that led to a bomb squad rushing to the restaurant.

Other than that, Herrera seems to be doing well. He won a recent influencer boxing match, he held a big fundraiser at a casino in Las Vegas, and his video of him buying guns from San Antonians waiting in line to sell their firearms to the city as part of a buyback program has 4.7 million views. He has raised $811,072 so far, mostly from small donors, but he hasn’t received any endorsements from elected officials.

Herrera seems to have gotten serious about the primary. His campaign website no longer features the machine gun or “Let’s Go Brandon.” He must think he can win. 

Bianca Gracia

Texas House District 128

The race

Briscoe Cain is one of the most far-right members of the Texas House—a boy-faced troll who is known for his extreme positions and campy antics. It’s hard to imagine anyone outflanking him on the right. But in the last couple years, Cain has matured a bit (some old friends would call it selling out). As he’s been accepted into the good graces of Speaker Dade Phelan’s leadership team, Cain’s ratio of stunts to legislating has declined somewhat. He even voted to impeach Ken Paxton. And there’s the rub: Cain may still throw some bombs, but he has given off the impression that he’s joined the establishment.  

Enter Bianca Gracia, a hard-core MAGA activist and cofounder of Latinos for Trump.

Claim to fame

Cain may have flown to Pennsylvania in the aftermath of the 2020 election to volunteer his services to overturn the results, but Gracia put herself even closer to the action. The night before the Capitol insurrection, Gracia—who helped organize the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6—attended a meeting in an underground parking garage. There she communed with her close associate Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the violent street group the Proud Boys; Stewart Rhodes, the eye-patched founder of the Oath Keepers, an extremist militia; and two others. Tarrio and Rhodes were later convicted of seditious conspiracy; Tarrio was sentenced to 22 years in prison, and Rhodes received 18. “You need to be here tomorrow,” Gracia told Tarrio in the video of the meeting. She also claimed that authorities were reading messages on his phone. 

The House committee investigating the January 6 riots interviewed Gracia in April 2022. She pleaded the Fifth to dozens of questions about her relationships to the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, the nature of phone calls she had with Trump officials in the weeks after the 2020 election, and Tarrio’s visit to the White House in December 2020, which he told investigators had been organized by Gracia.  She has not been charged with a crime. 

How it started

This isn’t Gracia’s first attempt to knock off a GOP incumbent. In 2022 she took on state senator Mayes Middleton, an oilman from Galveston, and lost badly in a four-way race. She scraped together 7.5 percent of the vote; Middleton cruised to reelection with almost 63 percent. Gracia’s campaign was remarkable for two reasons. One, she threatened to unleash God’s wrath upon pastors who didn’t support her, telling them, “If you do not show up, then you will be held accountable, because I have been appointed and assigned for this position, and God is testing you all.” Two, she released a campaign video of her repeatedly cracking a whip to “whip Texas back into shape” while her family watched from horseback.

How it’s going

Paxton has endorsed Gracia. So has Michael Flynn, the far-right former Trump national security adviser who urged Trump to declare martial law and hold a new election after the then-president lost in 2020. Of the nearly $68,000 in political contributions she’s collected so far, $25,000 has come from a single source—Patrick Byrne, the voluble former CEO who tried to sell Trump on wild schemes to overturn the 2020 election, including the use of troops to seize and recount ballots. 

Gracia seems furious that Abbott is campaigning for Cain. “People keep asking me…are you bringing in Paxton? Trump? Flynn?” she wrote on social media. “Im not desperate people, that I have to throw a tantrum and bring Abbott to my district so early in a primary.”

If we had to handicap the race, we would give the edge to the candidate who isn’t proclaiming, “I’m not desperate”!

Pervez Agwan 

U.S. House District 7

The race

Democrat Lizzie Fletcher is a well-funded, three-term incumbent who first flipped a Republican Houston-area seat in a hard-fought campaign in 2018 and then went on to fend off several Republican challengers over the years. State Republicans redrew her district in 2021 to be very big-d Democratic, enticing candidates to her left to try to outflank her in that party’s primary. For a progressive to oust her, however, would require an excellent politician running a near-perfect campaign. Pervez Agwan, a leftist renewable-energy developer, is trying to be that contender—and so far is failing miserably.

Claim to fame

On paper, Agwan is a strong candidate. His story is compelling: his parents, Muslims from India, immigrated to New York in search of the American dream. They ended up in Houston, where his dad found backbreaking work in the oil industry. Agwan grew up in the racially diverse Gulfton-Sharpstown area. He graduated from a public high school in Fort Bend County, then attended Texas A&M and MIT, settling into the cleantech industry. His dad was laid off, struggled to make ends meet, and lost access to health care, dying at age 56 from a heart attack. Out of this story, Agwan has fashioned a bracing, angry, left-populist message. “The American dream is dead,” his website declares, and big corporations, including Houston’s oil giants, have buried it. Agwan embraces the Green New Deal and Medicare for All and calls Fletcher “anti-labor.” 

But recently, the battle of ideas he craves has been derailed by an HR debacle of epic proportions. Instead of talking about Lizzie Fletcher’s coziness with Big Oil, the Agwan campaign is managing a cascade of sexual misconduct allegations. 

How it started

Agwan initially appeared to be one of the stronger candidates running in the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez–Bernie Sanders lane this cycle. He received an endorsement from the Houston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (later rescinded), and pro-Palestinian voices cheered him for criticizing Fletcher’s staunchly pro-Israel positions. Maybe not a winning formula, but Agwan was running the race he wanted to run—and allies across the nation were noticing.

How it’s going

This fall, the proverbial cow pie hit the fan. The trouble first surfaced publicly on August 22, when police arrested Over Santiago Garcia Lopez, the campaign’s 26-year-old organizing director, in front of staff at the campaign headquarters. He faces charges that he had a sexual relationship with a minor in his previous job as a teacher and recorded the sex acts. The arrest was shocking to some of the idealistic young staffers, but perhaps not surprising to the teenage intern who had already reported to the campaign that Garcia Lopez had sent her inappropriate messages on Instagram. (Garcia Lopez, who is set to appear in court in April, declined to talk, through his attorney.) 

Then, just a couple months later, at least eleven staffers resigned en masse. Some accused Garcia Lopez’s replacement, Angelo Perlera, of inappropriate behavior toward female staff members, including sending texts about staffers’ appearances (“I love your fit!!!,” followed by three fire emojis) and engaging in inappropriate touching in the workplace. The campaign did not make Perlera available for an interview with Texas Monthly

Agwan addressed the allegations against his campaign in an interview. He told Texas Monthly that an investigator hired by the campaign produced a report that “exonerates everybody. Nobody was ever assaulted on this campaign, period.” Agwan would not share that investigation with Texas Monthly because of pending litigation. “A few disgruntled former employees who were at risk of being fired by us for faking their data and for literally causing a toxic workplace when they realized they were going to be let go, they turned this into a debacle.”

The next shoe to drop came on December 1, when a former female staffer, Maha Chishtey, sued Agwan and his campaign, alleging that he “used his position of authority over Chishtey to exploit and coerce her to go along with his sexual indulgences and kept her from escaping his office when she refused to comply.”  

Agwan denied Chishtey’s charges. “The allegations against me never happened,” Agwan said. “It’s being dragged out to score political points.” 

By whom? Agwan has pointed the finger at AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group, saying it is “behind smear attempts against our campaign.” It is said of politics that if you’re explaining, you’re losing. To that we might add: if you’re explaining that the Israel lobby is somehow responsible for allegations of assault and sexual harassment by your staff, you might be a loser. 

Joshua Feuerstein

Texas House District 4

The race

Keith Bell, a reliable conservative, has occasionally deviated from right-wing Republican orthodoxy. He voted to impeach Paxton and he opposed private school vouchers, a transformative proposal to sweep public-education funding into private schools. For his sins, Bell now faces an opponent who is a tireless internet poster. His deep red district runs from Kaufman County, just east of Dallas, to Athens.

Claim to fame

What would Joshua Feuerstein be without his online haters? Would anyone even know his name? If cringe came to life and ran for office, could it take any purer form?

Feuerstein is one of those minor internet celebrities, endemic to our times, who is famous for staking out maximally obnoxious opinions and screaming about them until his enemies are forced to take notice. It helps that he dresses like Fred Durst and possesses a voice that combines the cadence of a megachurch youth pastor with the guttural trash-talking of a WWE heel. The evangelical preacher from California rocketed to viral fame in 2015 over a series of stunts he posted to Facebook, starting with a video of him asking a bakery in Florida to make him a sheet cake that read, “We do not support gay marriage.” The owners refused, and Feuerstein asked his followers to call the bakery to complain. That was soon followed by his most famous stunt: protesting Starbucks’s generic red holiday cups by telling the barista that his name was Merry Christmas, thus forcing the worker to write “Merry Christmas” on his mug. Outrage ensued. His fifteen minutes elapsed.

Ever since, Feuerstein seems to have struggled to reclaim the spotlight. He has started a dizzying number of ventures, including a short-lived relationship advice channel, a news platform called America First News that briefly featured former MAGA stalwart Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, and an occasional Christian nationalist event called America’s Revival, featuring MyPillow impresario Mike Lindell. Of late, Feuerstein has been burning children’s books in his fireplace and preaching at a Pentecostal church in Garland, a Dallas suburb. Here you can watch him “rap” about David among the Philistines (“I was hoping you and me could be homies, dawg / Philistine till I dieeeeee! That’s for all my hood people in here.”).

A few years ago, after a stint in Arizona, Feuerstein moved to Texas, the promised land for right-wing celebrities looking for a fresh start. His last major turn came on January 5, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol, where he draped an American flag around his neck and incited the crowd: “It is time for war! Let us stop the steal!” He hasn’t been charged with a crime. A photo of Feuerstein on January 5 now graces his campaign site

How it started

Feuerstein recently explained how he had come to take on Bell. He had just moved from the Dallas area to rural Kaufman County to live out his “country values” with his “beautiful wife and six homeschooled children” when Ken Paxton paid him a visit to recruit him as a candidate for office. Feuerstein had never heard of Bell, but he didn’t like what the attorney general was telling him about the incumbent. He was in. “We’re going to bring God back to the Texas House,” he said in his campaign-announcement video. “It’s time we have a preacher in the Texas House.” In fact, the Texas Legislature has hosted several pastors. But a California social media influencer? That might be a first.

How it’s going

Feuerstein is bringing his brand of middle-aged trolling to the race. His signs include the slogan “Protect Kids From Democrats.” He recently told a GOP town hall audience that if Child Protective Services workers were to show up at his home, they would be “met with the Second Amendment.” When the clip surfaced on the internet, Feuerstein promoted it with another provocation: “I’ll also push to eliminate CPS!” In a recent tweet, he posed with a comically large rifle and offered to “to lead an armed civilian militia to the border” alongside “several former special forces operators.” 

Feuerstein, despite his recent arrival from the Golden State, insists he is not a “carpetbagger” and, improbably, is trying to paint Bell, a native Texan and Baptist cattle rancher, as a poseur. Holding a cowboy hat in his hand, Feuerstein addressed his opponent at a recent town hall: “This is not a costume,” he said, looking angrily at the camera. “This is not something you can put on and dress Texas and then vote California. No, this is something that you do not deserve to wear.”

Jared Woodfill

Texas House District 138

The race

See if this sounds familiar: Lacey Hull, who represents a chunk of western Harris County, including parts of Houston and Spring Branch, can lay claim to one of the most conservative voting records in the Texas House. But she voted to impeach Paxton and now she faces a Paxton-backed challenger who is implying she’s a RINO (that’s Republican in name only) and part of the “Austin swamp.” Hull has eight times more cash in her coffers than her challenger. Yawn, right? But this race isn’t a total sleeper, because it will put to the test a novel political science question: How do voters feel about a family values candidate who is uncomfortably friendly with an accused child-sex predator?

Claim to fame

Until fairly recently, Jared Woodfill was best known for being the second-most famous homophobe in Harris County—the first being his frequent legal client, the strident and strange Steven Hotze, who once wielded a sword onstage to encourage Christians to do battle against the evils of homosexuality. Woodfill is slightly less colorful, but no less animated, about his opposition to LGBTQ rights. In 2016, when he ran unsuccessfully for Texas GOP chair, his supporters sent a mailer accusing the incumbent of promoting the “disgusting homosexual agenda.” In 2015, he and Hotze helped organize a successful campaign to vote down a nondiscrimination ordinance in Houston. Their playbook—warning that LGBTQ Texans were groomers and pedophiles—has become standard among socially conservative activists. (Hotze is now helping to bankroll Woodfill’s campaign.)

But Woodfill’s career has taken a darker turn. Last year the Texas Tribune reported that he had testified under oath that in 2004 he was made aware that his law partner, Paul Pressler, a former state representative and district judge, had been accused of sexually abusing a child. Nonetheless, Woodfill continued to partner with Pressler, a prominent figure in the conservative movement within the Southern Baptist Convention. Pressler wasn’t paid a salary and performed almost no work, Woodfill later testified. Nonetheless, the firm continued to supply him with a stream of young male assistants for at least the next thirteen years. At least three of them have accused Pressler of abuse. Long-running litigation related to the allegations was confidentially settled in December. (Attorneys for Pressler did not respond to a request for comment.)

Woodfill downplayed the allegations, writing in an email, “There was one allegation of abuse of a minor by an individual who realized it for the first time when he was up for parole on a heroin conviction. At the time, he was in his late 40s and had forgotten that he was allegedly abused as a minor.” He added: “I never saw or witnessed him [Pressler] do anything inappropriate.” 

How it started

Woodfill launched his campaign in November at the home of Hotze, mere months after his longtime ally was booted out of a state Senate hearing in March for repeatedly labeling trans Texans as “pedophiles.” Paxton soon gave Woodfill his blessing. “True conservatives need to take control of the House, and Jared Woodfill can lead the way,” the attorney general said in a December radio ad. Abbott, and most conservative advocacy groups, meanwhile, are backing Hull. 

How it’s going

It’s a bold gambit to run for office as the family values guy while fighting off accusations that you turned a blind eye to sexual abuse. But Texas voters aren’t strangers to candidates persisting in the face of allegations of legal and moral misdeeds. Paxton cruised to reelection in 2022 despite being under indictment on felony securities-fraud charges and facing an FBI investigation into allegations from several of his top staffers that he committed crimes in office, including bribery. Democratic state representative Ron Reynolds, a Houston-area attorney, was reelected to his office in 2018 while sitting in jail after being convicted of illegally soliciting clients for his law practice. The list of candidates stained by charges of adultery, corruption, drunk driving, or sexual harassment—only to be elected or reelected—is long enough to suggest that a finely tuned personal moral compass is not the first requirement for office. 

Kyle Biedermann

Texas House District 19

The race

The second coming of Kyle Biedermann? Only if he can squeeze past Ellen Troxclair, a Republican and former token conservative on the Austin City Council who won a seat in this Hill Country district in 2022. 

Claim to fame

Biedermann, a self-described “Christian conservative Ace hardware dealer,” is responsible for one of the strangest photos in Texas political history. In the circa 2008 photo, Biedermann traded his usual attire of brush jacket and cowboy hat for a “gay Hitler” ensemble—he sported a Hitler-esque mustache over an impish grin. He wore a swastika armband and a pink scarf while giving a “Sieg heil” salute for the benefit of the camera. When the image surfaced in 2016, as Biedermann tried to knock out state representative Doug Miller (a relatively moderate Republican legislator from New Braunfels), he insisted that it was much ado about nothing—he had dressed up as a Saturday Night Live character played by Chris Kattan just to raise money for charity. Then he kept explaining. “I am not gay and never have been,” he wrote to one of his would-be constituents. “Don’t know anything about Swingers Clubs and no desire to find out. I have an amazing wife.” 

Unfairly or not, Biedermann has been dogged by the “gay Hitler” thing ever since. He served an undistinguished three terms in the Texas House, a member of the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus who seemed preternaturally attracted to lost causes, including the ultimate Lost Cause: secession. In 2021, he filed legislation to put the question of a “Texit” on the ballot, which prompted one of his Republican colleagues to call the move “the very definition of seditious” and helped earn him a spot on Texas Monthly’s list of worst legislators. That legislation came just twenty days after Biedermann appeared at the “Stop the Steal” rally the U.S. Capitol on January 6. (Biedermann says it was not an insurrection and that he didn’t storm the Capitol.)

How it started

Biedermann has explained his foray back into politics as that of a reluctant businessman, not a thirsty former officeholder. He’s upset that the minority party is given chairmanships in the House—a practice since time immemorial—and he’s angry that Troxclair, otherwise a hard-core conservative, voted to impeach Paxton. “I can’t sit back; I’ve got to get back in the fight,” he told a local radio station

How it’s going

Ken Paxton’s criteria for endorsement seem to be (a) you’re willing to say nice things about Ken Paxton, and (b) you have a pulse. Biedermann is a living, breathing Paxton pal, yet Paxton has yet to bestow his blessing. For now, the former representative must settle for the support of agriculture commissioner Sid Miller and the Fredericksburg Tea Party.

On the campaign trail, he seems to be going out of his way to associate himself with perhaps the most reviled House member to grace the chamber in many years: Bryan Slaton. Last year, the House voted 147–0 to expel Slaton from the Legislature after it came to light that he had plied his nineteen-year-old staffer with alcohol and then had sex with her. Such lopsided votes are usually reserved for celebrating pecan pie or World Series victories by the Astros or Rangers. After Slaton was expelled, the universal feeling around the Capitol was “Good riddance.” But Biedermann recently told voters that Slaton was done dirty by “leadership.” When a man challenged him, Biedermann blew up: “Are you kidding me? Want me to tell you how many people have done that in the House?” He went on: “What was his crime? Is it a crime to have sex with a nineteen-year-old woman?” 

Contrary to the cliché, there are, of course, second acts in American life—Donald Trump is proof enough of that. But reruns often fail to find new audiences. And the Kyle Biedermann Show does not feel fresh.

Katrina Pierson

Texas House District 33

The race

Justin Holland, who represents a district on the eastern fringe of the Dallas metro, is a classic good ol’ boy Texas legislator. A sixth-generation native of Rockwall, the amiable realtor has amassed a conservative voting record marked by an occasional foray into mild iconoclasm. He was one of two Republicans in the Texas House last year to vote to advance doomed legislation raising the legal age to purchase certain semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21. He also voted to impeach Paxton and against school vouchers.

Like many on this list, Holland’s votes landed him on the s— lists of Greg Abbott, Ken Paxton, and Tim Dunn, the Midland oil billionaire and Christian nationalist who is waging a generational battle to purge the GOP of all but the most controllable ideologues. Holland faces two primary opponents, one of whom happens to be semi-famous: Katrina Pierson, one of Trump’s earliest grassroots supporters.

Claim to fame

Pierson’s career as an activist and media personality took off on April 15, 2009 (tax day), when she spoke at a Dallas tea party event at city hall, declaring that if she “had [her] way, Texas would close the borders and secede from the nation.”

It’s easy to forget now, but the tea party revolutionized the Texas GOP, essentially disemboweling the political center in the state. Pierson built a career as an activist and campaigner for the cause, traveling around the state. She taught the grassroots about “Agenda 21,” a conspiracy theory that posits that the United Nations is at the center of an effort to impose ecofascism on Americans. She later campaigned for Ted Cruz. This was all part of her first chapter. 

Then, in January 2015, she met Donald Trump, who was considering a run for office, during the MAGA movement’s ascendancy. “I told him then that if he [ran], I would help him and that he would win. That’s how it all began.” Thus began her second chapter as a close Trump confidante. 

Pierson calls herself one of Trump’s “top originals”—someone who stood by his side from the golden escalator through his first term through the rally at the Ellipse on January 6. She helped plan and promote that rally, despite her misgivings about the “crazies” whom she says Trump clung to amid his bid to stay in power. 

How it started

This is not Pierson’s first race against a Gentleman of the GOP. In 2014, she flopped in a primary challenge to Dallas congressman Pete Sessions, a D.C. swamp critter if there ever was one. She failed to compete with Sessions’s fund-raising prowess, and her critics hammered her over revelations that she had been convicted of shoplifting as a twenty-year-old, an experience she credits for turning her life around. 

But that was a lifetime ago. Today she is the self-described “OG Trump spox”—political slang for “spokesperson,” a term that understates her national profile and extensive network of friends and allies. A state representative seat seems almost too small for someone who lived on television for years as a face of Trumpism. But nonetheless, Pierson has thrown herself into the race against Holland with characteristic zeal.

How it’s going

Unsurprisingly, Pierson has been endorsed by Paxton: she claims to know him “very well,” according to testimony she gave the U.S. House committee that investigated January 6. And she’s clearly impressed by the Texas attorney general. Asked by House investigators about Paxton’s unsuccessful and widely derided lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election results in four states, she said, “I thought it was beautifully written.” 

But so far, she’s been snubbed by Abbott, despite recently lavishing praise on him. On January 2, the governor issued a sort of antiendorsement of Holland, pointing to a statement from the Rockwall County GOP calling Holland “increasingly unresponsive to voters and the Republican Party.” But Abbott stopped short of endorsing Pierson. Was he still bitter that she campaigned for Don Huffines, the former libertarian-ish state senator who challenged him from the far right in the 2022 midterms? 

In testimony to January 6 investigators, Pierson talked about one of her roles in Trump World: keeping at bay what she calls the “fringe” of the MAGA movement, the Alex Joneses and the Ali Alexanders, the bloodthirsty types Trump “loved” because they “viciously defended him in public.” But Pierson, of all people, ought to understand that Trump would likely never be president without boosters like Alex Jones. And Pierson, who is so far getting absolutely clobbered by Holland in the fund-raising department, will never win an election without the fringe showing up for her in force.