When Indivisible Austin was founded in December 2016, we were purely a resistance movement. The reality of Donald J. Trump as our president forced us into action, and the Indivisible Guide showed us the way.
Now, a little more than a year later, the energy of the resistance movement is clearly shifting toward electoral strategy, and rightfully so. Part of that strategy is endorsing candidates.
For the 2018 primaries, we opted to examine statewide races on the top of the ballot. We declined to endorse in every race, instead only endorsing those candidates that received unanimous approval by Indivisible Austin’s Board of Directors. We will consider broadening the races we will endorse in—including campaigns for congressional and state legislative seats—in the coming months.
The Board looked at Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian candidates. We made our selections based on who most aligned with our mission to defend democracy and resist authoritarianism—and on one of our guiding principles: to be vocal allies for marginalized communities.
From that group, we chose three candidates that we are enthusiastic about endorsing.
The Board of Directors of Indivisible Austin voted unanimously to endorse:
Lt. Governor – Mike Collier
Comptroller – Joi Chevalier
Agriculture Commissioner – Kim Olson
More detailed notes on our endorsement decisions follow.
Mike Collier supports comprehensive finance reform, opposes gerrymandering and voter disenfranchisement, and supports policies that promote closing the income inequality gap. His commitment to affordable health care for Texans, a top priority for Indivisible Austin, was a deciding factor in our endorsement.
We endorsed in the Lt. Governor’s race, in part, in recognition of the importance of this election to the Texas Legislature. Dan Patrick, with his fervent desire to discriminate against immigrants and the LGBTQ community and to restrict the economic security of all Texans, must go, and Collier is our pick to defeat him.
For Comptroller, small-business owner Joi Chevalier would bring experience and humanity to the important role of managing the state budget.
Rather than waste our money on bathroom bills, further militarizing our border, and breaking up families, Joi Chevalier will focus on the role the state budget can play in fostering more, not less, opportunity in the state. For example, her commitment to diversifying revenue sources suggests Chevalier will bring new creativity and life into the Comptroller role, an energy that is sorely needed.
For Agriculture Commissioner, where Sid Miller has been a national embarrassment since 2014, Kim Olson gets our nod. Kim is a retired Air Force pilot and an organic farmer who is listening to the concerns of Texans in all of our 254 counties. Her campaign has demonstrated she is eager to listen to the concerns of both those who grow our food as well as the families that purchase it.
Her life has been one of service—often in a trailblazing manner—both during her military career and afterwards, as she worked in education and on behalf of veterans. In 2014, she was rightly inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame and we are proud to offer our endorsement to her race.
5 things you can do to support these candidates
VOTE! Early voting is Feb. 20 to March 2, with election day on March 6.
Volunteer your time—candidates need people to make phone calls, stuff envelopes, knock on doors, and all sorts of other things.
Promote candidates on social media.
Give money to the candidates who most share your values!
Be vocal! Tell your friends and family about your choices and remind them to vote.
A note on the Senate race
We feel it is important to recognize that Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s name is not listed above. We are impressed with Rep. O’Rourke’s dynamic campaign. However, he voted for a budget that did not include protections for Dreamers and seems to lack any reasonable strategy for protecting immigrant youth moving forward. As such, the Board declined to endorse at this time.
We recognize that the budget contained funding for a number of important items, but the uncertain fate of so many young Texans cannot be ignored. We look forward to hearing more from the Representative on his strategy to protect Dreamers and revisiting this endorsement in the future.
We’ll have more to say on this topic soon.
If you refuse to endorse Beto, then stick a fork in me because I am DONE with the Indivisible Movement! Let me get this straight: You cannot bring yourself to endorse Beto over Ted Cruz just because he voted for an imperfect budget that included many provisions that were good? Why would you fail to endorse ANYONE over Ted Cruz?!?!
SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Indivisible movement is about holding our members of Congress accountable. We are not constituents of Rep. O’Rourke, but we do have the opportunity and responsibility to ask hard questions now, while he is a candidate.
We did not make this decision lightly. We have worked for months with immigrant-led groups to push Congress to come up with a DACA fix. Their dismay and desperation after the budget vote, knowing that it was likely the last chance before the March 5 deadline, showed us that we need to make sure anyone we endorse for Congressional office will have a plan to fix DACA and protect immigrant youth permanently.
Regarding all spurious, impassioned claims of supporting or endorsing Sen. Cruz, we encourage you to reread the last sentence.
I thought Indivisible was started to fight autocracy in the wake of the 2016 election. Beto is a critical piece of putting America back on a reasonable path. This is no time for purity tests.
Thanks for your comment (and email). Another component of our mission is to be a vocal ally of marginalized communities, and that is what largely informed this decision. As stated in other comments, the door remains open to supporting Beto. We will post more about this soon.
I think the idea not to endorse O’Rourke was a foolish one, but Ted Cruz will not be on the ballot opposite Beto in the Democratic primary. This was not an O’Rourke or Cruz endorsement decision. O’rourke’s opponents in this primary election are Democrats Sema Hernandez and Edward Kimbrough.
I totally agree with Mary Liz. We have no choice but to endorse Beto! Do we want to rid the great state of Texas of Cruz, or not!
Look here Indivisible, we can work out the Dreamer deal later. That shouldn’t be an issue to not endorse the candidate who has the best chance of getting rid of Ted Cruz. We can’t take on every darn ‘iron in the fire’ in a early swoop. Get real.
I stand with Beto and so should you. If not, then I will have the unfortunate job of removing Indivisible Texas from my Twitter feed for my 3,649 followers.
DO YOUR JOB FOR THE WIN! @VforVictory1 #Beto4Texas
Bullshit! So Ted Cruz will get your endorsement because Rep O’Rourke voted against your policy on one issue.
This is why Democrats never win in the State, you get hung up on one issue, just like the republicans on abortion and guns.
Support for a Democratic Senator for Texas is important so that once in there, he
can work the immigration issues and help resolve the Dreamer status problem.
A very unwise decision not to endorse Beto. You are playing into Cruz’ hands. Terrible decision.
Will you have information for the rest of the ballot? New to TX so not familiar enough with this landscape except for the familiar nationally known candidates.
Hi – This is all we are posting for the primaries, but http://www.vote411.org/ has you covered for the rest. There will probably be runoff elections in May, and of course the general election in November, and we will post more information for those.
I am shocked and very disappointed in your failure to endorse Beto O’Rourke. None of the other candidates you did endorse have the disadvantage of currently serving in elected positions so you have no idea how they would have actually voted under the same circumstance. Sometimes hard decisions and compromises need to be made. Beto has shown his support for Dreamers in many ways. Just google “beto o’rourke daca dreamers” and you will see the many times he has made his position publicly clear. I trust Beto to represent progressive positions including Dreamers. I also trust him to make reasonable compromises when it is necessary.
This was a hard decision for us. None of the other races are Congressional, so those candidates have no ability to pass or influence legislation that would protect Dreamers. Because Rep. O’Rourke is a member of Congress he does have a record, and his recent vote is an important one with respect to the protection of immigrant youth. Members of Congress keep deciding that immigrants are the ones who get left out of compromises. A DACA fix and long-term protection for immigrant youth is one of the issues our board members hold most dear, and our values with respect to the protection of marginalized communities led us to what was a very difficult decision. As you can see from our statement, the door is still open.
Did you consider sending endorsement questionnaire to the other candidates?
There is a woman of color in the race for U.S. Senate, Sema Hernandez (https://www.semafortexas.us/). There is also a man or color, Edward Kimbrough (https://www.edwardkimbroughforussenate.com/).
Your organization isn’t very Democratic when you willingly chose to ignore other candidates. Shameful & disingenuous. Indivisible Austin has lost all credibility.
Thanks for your comment. We did consider all candidates, all parties. We did not send a questionnaire to any of them.
I really appreciate the leadership that Indivisible Austin has provided since its inception. However, I have to respectfully ask that you reconsider your non-endorsement of Beto for Senate. Beto is a strong advocate of the DREAM Act and has never faltered in his support for the Dreamers. We know Ted Cruz’s position – he was the only senator to recently vote against even having an immigration debate in the Senate. If you do not endorse Beto – what is the alternative you suggest?
There are hundreds of Texans (& many members of Indivisible Austin) that are doing everything they can to make sure Ted Cruz is defeated in November so Texas can have a senator that believes accountability, honesty, and decency. Beto gives us the only chance we have to do that.
With all due respect, making a point of not endorsing Beto is a mistake. It reveals a gap between ATX Indivisible’s leadership and membership. The board is free to have their very specific policy opinions, but they should also be representing the thousands of people that have been volunteering hundreds of thousands of hours for over a year. And has someone who has been attending and organizing events for Indivisible from the beginning, I can say there is virtually no ambiguity about how the vast majority of the memberships feels about this candidate.
We are hearing and internalizing this very constructive criticism from leaders and supporters alike, and will use it to change and improve processes going forward. We have every intention at this time of endorsing candidates in the general (and possibly runoff elections–that decision is still pending), and are considering all the feedback we’re getting to inform that process in the next round.
We tried to be careful in wording the statement to be clear that it is from the board members of Indivisible Austin. It’s clear that distinction was perhaps not strong enough, or maybe doesn’t even matter because so many wonderful people are invested in Indivisible and identify as Indivisible Austin activists. Folks want to be proud of and affiliated with an organization that shares their values.
The Indivisible Guide and movement was founded on the principle that constituent pressure on our members of Congress is the best leverage we have to stop Trump’s racist, authoritarian, and corrupt agenda. We believe that pressure should extend to candidates, too—and to both parties. Texans need the strongest advocates possible to represent us in Washington. As we’ve noted in another comment, immigrants keep getting left out of the compromises in Congress, and (future) constituents need to hold candidates to account on protecting them.
You made a mistake not endorsing Beto. Look at the one single issue of who the NRA gave an A grade to: Ted Cruz. I the wake of the latest shooting spree with an assault rifle, I have become a single issue voter.
I can’t get my head around how an “Indivisible” group makes an endorsement that is so obviously divisive.
You failed to endorse Rep. O’Rourke, with whom I’m sure you agree on 90% of the issues, because you differ on one. Is this how you want democracy to work?
Thank you for the principled position you took in rethinking your endorsement of Beto O’Rourke for the primary race against his two democratic opponents. I understand that some may see this a purity test and some may see the budget vote as a tactical necessity. I would like to address those points from my personal perspective as an Indivisible organizer. I do not speak for my group, and I recognize that smart and well-meaning people in that group disagree with me.
I do not see this as a purity test because DACA is an area where many of the core values of Indivisible intersect. It is an issue of authoritarianism because of the law enforcement tactics used. It is an issue of racism because of the groups targeted. It is an issue of dismantling the successes and legacy of the Obama administration. It intersects with issues of human rights (women’s, LGBTQ, religion, etc.) because our neighbors are being deported to countries where these rights are denied to them with sometimes deadly consequences. It is an issue of free speech because vocal critics of the administration have been arrested. And perhaps most importantly, it is a promise made by President Obama, and the Democratic party, that if people signed up they would be protected. Instead, the information that they entrusted to our care is being used to hunt them down.
O’Rouke’s vote was largely symbolic either way it was cast. There was no chance that the house would block the budget. Democrats simply do not have the numbers. His vote was clearly cast because he thought it would cost him more votes than it would gain him. He clearly felt that standing up for dreamers in even a symbolic way was politically unwise. We need him, and those like him, to understand that we expect our leaders to forcefully state the moral case for the positions they take and vote accordingly, and not hold their fingers to the wind and abandon core principals when they may face consequences at the ballot box.
We need leaders who will passionately and consistently state the intellectual and moral case for democratic norms, limited government, social justice, the successes of the Obama administration, freedom of speech, human rights, and keeping the promises that we’ve made. I believe that if candidates do this, electoral success will follow. In fact, I believe it’s the only way we will have the kind of electoral success we need.
Really? His stance on Dreamers is right there in black and white on his website:
“Pass the DREAM Act and ensure that undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children, known as ‘Dreamers’, find a permanent home and citizenship in the U.S.” He brings it up in basically every town hall or livestream. You’d be hard pressed to find a Democrat that’s more vocal on the subject. Does this really strike you as a guy who is politically triangulating on the issue in order to bring in conservative voters?
This is absolutely a purity test. I can’t think of a better example of a purity test. Indivisible shares Beto’s stance on probably every single issue, but because of a tactical disagreement, they are withholding what should be a no-brainer endorsement.
Agree with all comments above. I was initially interested in getting involved with this organization, but a failure to endorse Beto during such an important election reminds me of those who opted out of the Presidential election over inner party differences, thereby handing the Presidency to the most disastrous dangerous oligarch imaginable. These are dangerous decisions to be petty and overly critical within the party these days while such -devastating- differences exist between the two major parties in terms of basic human rights.
Folks, this is a primary election ffs! Ted Cruz isn’t on the ballot for Democratic voters. A non-endorsement doesn’t mean anything at this point except a subtle message to the candidate. Notice that they didn’t endorse any of his primary opponents. Now go vote!
Thank you! I have been waiting for someone to state the obvious: this is a primary. I have no doubt that Indivisible – – as most liberal leaning voters in Texas – – will vote for the candidate who opposes machine gun bacon Ted Cruz in November, ffs! Right now let’s get out to vote for one Democratic nominee! And, yes, my vote is for Beto. But I will vote for whoever is the Democratic nominee in November! And, to be clear, I respect the position of Indivisible here…I understand why Beto voted the way he did…but I understand Indivisible’s holding him accountable and pointing out his vitrine record at this juncture.
(Vitrine?? ) voting
I don’t give a flip whether Indivisible endorses O’Rourke or anybody else they choose to endorse or not. It’s my choice and my vote. I’m voting for him. He is reportedly the only candidate who has even an outside chance of going toe to toe with Ted Cruz. We need everyone we can get to vote for him to win the primary so he will be Ted’s challenger – and we sure could use the help of any big organizations. But I’ll continue to work for what’s right, no matter what others give lip service to doing.
And as far as Indivisible’s objection about the Dreamers, C’mon! He was born in El Paso and still lives there. HEY, Individs! – Think about it.
Everyone on here yelling about Ted Cruz: spend you time researching how primaries work. This has very little to do with Ted Cruz.
I do think indivisible is playing a dangerous game this early in it’s existence by showing that when the leadership says one thing, and the constituents demand something else, the board wins as usual. This is how the democratic party is already crumbling. I get the immigration issue. I am an empath. I absolutely agree we have to protect the dreamers.
However, from an organizational and mission standpoint – Indivisible stated itself that its about holding reps accountable THROUGH THE DEMANDS OF CONSTITUENTS. When you bypass constituents (even if you disagree), you are employing the same tactics as our currently pathetic leadership. Your mission is better – your work is better – and your messaging better damn well get better or you’re losing even your strongest advocates (me, on the edge, for example). I support you. But you’re willingly contradicting your own mission (with excuses) as to why making board decisions independent from the constituents/voters is okay in SOME circumstances (sounds like you’re priming us up to do your own thing, with our vote, our money, our voices….SOUND FAMILIAR?).
Get it together, we believe in you, and each other, but this type of rule bending from the source itself is the fastest way for your organization to let us all down.
I just find it interesting that no one was endorsed for the Governors race and no one commented on that.
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