Steve Hotze’s website will tell you he is a “Physician, Radio Host, and Best Selling Author” leading a “wellness revolution”. But politicos know him as a controversial QAnon conservative from Houston who wields considerable influence with top Republicans including Gov. Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. That’s because Hotze is President of the Conservative Republicans of Texas and a power player in Harris County where ~25% of GOP primary votes are cast. Hotze was also one of the Republicans behind the failed lawsuit to throw out 127,000 ballots in Harris County. Now a foot soldier of one of Hotze’s other organizations has been arrested for an alleged-coordinated attack on an innocent man thought to have orchestrated a massive, but non-existent, voter fraud scheme.
A former Houston police Captain named Mark Aguirre was paid over $200,000 by Hotze’s organization Liberty Center for God and Country the day after he allegedly attacked an air-conditioner repairman he had been surveilling for four days. Aguirre was hired by Hotze and believed the repairman was holding up to 750,000 ballots, none of which were found. In fact, a Harris County elections task force recently concluded that there was, “no proof of any election tampering, ballot harvesting, voter suppression, intimidation or any other type of foul play that might have impacted the legitimate cast or count of a ballot.”
Hotze fights the culture war on all fronts and you can bet he’s always ready to fire some dastardly salvo. Earlier this year during the height of the George Floyd protests a public information request revealed that Hotze wanted Gov. Abbott to order National Guardsmen “to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-bitch people start rioting like they have in Dallas.” He said “the only way to restore order” was to just “kill’em.”
The Freedom Network has called Hotze’s group the Conservative Republicans of Texas a “cesspool of extremism and hate” and they have been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for their anti-LGBT propaganda. In 2015, Hotze led the fight to kill Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (H.E.R.O.) through fearmongering and in 2017 he was behind Dan Patrick’s infamous and failed attempt to criminalize transgender people who use public restrooms. When the House didn’t back Hotze’s brand of extremism he wrote, “wouldn’t it be great if we had a Speaker of the House who was as conservative as Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.”
That’s why it’s time for Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to stop turning a blind eye to Hotze’s dangerous and violent rhetoric. If Abbott is going to wage a political war on cities over rising crime and police funding he can’t ignore a major GOP activist and donor who literally hired an ex-cop that appears to have violently harassed an ordinary innocent Texan. When Hotze’s organization Liberty Center for God and Country posts that “the only good Communist is a dead Communist” it must be met with the same vigor Abbott mustered up when he mobilized the National Guard to prevent post-election violence. It’s clear Hotze’s refusal to accept the election results has taken a dark turn and Abbott can no longer ignore the call to violence coming from inside his own house.
Joe Deshotel is originally from Beaumont, Texas, but a combination of live music, politics, and natural beauty brought him to Austin in 2010. He has over a decade of experience in public policy that covers federal, state, and local government and has worked on a number of successful election campaigns. He continues to consult on Democratic campaigns and serves as the Chair of Austin’s Community Development Commission which advocates for affordable housing and solutions for homelessness.