Covey Goes Soft in New Spot vs. Phelan
in Potential Sign of Boozed Up Backlash

Capitol Inside
May 7, 2024

Orange Republican David Covey went generic on Tuesday when he unveiled a new advertisement that rips the "radical left" in a pitch for conservative values without a word about Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan as his primary runoff foe in the nation's hottest legislative race in years.

."The radical left wants to defund the police, keep the border open, convince our children they can change their gender and even impose racist identity politics in our schools," a narrator warns in the new 30-second Covey spot that he released in a post on X. He goes on to explain that Texas needs more conservative leaders without elaborating on the fact that he's a candidate for the House District 21 seat that Phelan is attempting to defend to keep his hopes for a third term with the gavel alive.

The Covey commercial that ignores the powerful incumbent could be a sign of a major strategy shift away from the kind of negative advertising in which southeast Texas has been saturated with unprecedented attacks against Phelan with record amounts of money being spent by both sides.

Phelan's detractors have blasted him in ads on an array of hot button issues from border security to Democratic committee chairs. But Covey's camp may have decided that a commercial that the Club for Growth Action PAC released on April 24 could have done more harm than good with a personal attack on his upbringing and character by portraying him as a spoiled brat alcoholic.

The Club for Growth ad features a testimonial by Lydia Damrel - a former GOP chair in Orange County like Covey himself. The ad includes a brief clip from a video that shows Phelan slurring words during a ruling from the dais during the 2023 regular session. While Phelan's critics have no real proof that the speaker was inebriated on the job, their interpretation of the video in question prompted the nickname Drunk Dade that some conservatives have parroted on social media, radio shows and podcasts that are popular with the far right.

"Dade Phelan is from a very wealthy well-known family," Damrel says in the ad. "And he has a very spoiled rich kid entitlement attitude."

Damrel didn't use her own words to accuse Phelan of leading the House under the influence. She let the video from a year ago do the talking and said it had left a lot of people angry.

"The votes they're taking are affecting people's lives," Damrel added. "They put their trust in you - and you take it so lightly.

"It was a wake up call," the former local party chair said. "Dade Phelan doesn't care about Texas."

more to come ...







Copyright 2003-2024 Capitol Inside