State Sen. Judith Zaffirini’s exchanges with a Republican and Libertarian challenger at Tuesday’s San Marcos Area League of Women Voters debate demonstrate a sharp contrast between the Laredo Democrat and her stringently anti-government foes.
Zaffirini is expected to easily win re-election over GOP nominee Grant Rostig of Lockhart and Libertarian Joseph Morse of Austin. But upon taking office next year, she will face an increasingly hardline Republican majority in the Texas Senate. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, chastened by his U.S. Senate primary loss to Tea Party-backed Ted Cruz, has already taken away Zaffirini’s chairmanship of the State Senate’s Higher Education committee although he did name her chair of the Government Organization committee.
Baring an earthquake and a tsunami, the senator will certainly win over Rostig and Morse. But the ascendancy of the movement they represent is pulling the center of the state’s politics further away from traditional Texas liberals like Zaffirini and undermining a long tradition of bipartisanship in the Legislature.
In the next session, the senator said she would maintain her focus on early childhood and higher education as well as health and human services funding.