The unusual activities of a $10 million Republican super PAC were exposed this week by tipsters calling elected officials and posting their own surveillance on Twitter.
Workers with Engage Texas, which says it registers and turns out voters, were spotted outside Texas Department of Public Safety driver’s license offices in recent days in the Houston and Dallas-Ft. Worth areas.
“They catch you coming out of the building by asking you to sign their petition on banning late term abortion,” tweeted state Rep. Chris Turner, who represents portions of Tarrant County. Turner visited two DPS offices where the super PAC was canvassing.
Turner said the group’s staffers told him they received permission from the Texas Department of Public Safety, who on Tuesday told the Houston Chronicle that public spaces outside agency’s offices were indeed available for “political speech.”
The Arlington, TX NAACP suggested that any group can now set up shop outside the DPS driver’s license offices to talk to people waiting in line.
Engage Texas is a partisan organization that launched this summer to “keep Texas red.” They have posted at least 30 job openings in multiple cities seeking “Republican” field representatives and canvassers.
According to Engage Texas board chair, Mano DeAyala, the group is “focused on both registering voters and giving them the information they need to get involved and vote for principled Texas conservatives to lead our state.”
The DPS offices the group is targeting appear strategic, since, as Turner told The Signal, their work “is clearly focused on areas where there are competitive seats.” Most of the competitive Texas House seats in 2020 are in the Dallas and Houston areas. The Washington Examiner said the group “saves Team Trump from having to spend the considerable sum it will take to register voters in Texas.”
The move by Texas conservatives to expand the electorate through a voter registration effort speaks to their vulnerability not seen in years. Trump’s approval rating has plunged 15 points in Texas since he’s been in office.