Houston Democrats move to establish quorum exposing cracks in their caucus

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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The unanticipated move by three Houston Democrats to return to the state capitol Wednesday to establish a quorum is causing fractures within its caucus.

Democratic Representatives Garnet Coleman, Ana Hernandez and Armando Lucio Walle stunned many members of their party when they returned to the state capital Thursday, making up enough members to form a quorum. A quorum is a certain number of legislators needed present in order for the chamber to move forward and pass laws.

Their actions were applauded by Republicans, who have been waiting for a quorum since Democrats first fled the state to Washington, D.C., in attempts at blocking a sweeping elections bill.

The bill’s author, Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, said he is pleased about their return but will stay cautiously optimistic.

“They have a quorum, just barely. So it would not be hard to lose a quorum again. So anything can happen,” Hughes said. “…a lot of our democratic friends, I think wanted to come back but were kind of at a tough spot politically, and so now that there’s a quorum, I think we’ll see more members come back and get some business done. We’re very encouraged. “

Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Dallas, said she cannot say they will be “besties” moving forward.

“It’s been disappointing for so many of us to feel like we’ve been blindsided,” she said.

Crockett acknowledged every party is bound to have fractions, and she will not let her frustration get in the way of working together toward Democratic goals in the future. However, she said she does not plan to return to Austin any time soon.

“Even now that they’re claiming a quorum, I’m not going back,” she said. “…They know where I stand. I stand there strongly. So it has been disappointing, because every single person that went back to the floor, they didn’t tell us.”

Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, said she isn’t frustrated with her Houston colleagues’ decision as much as other members like Crockett.

“I know my colleagues, I trust their values. All of us have disagreements on tactics,” Zwiener said. “But I know that every single member of the Democratic caucus right now is doing what they believe is the best way to advocate for the people they represent and the people of Texas.”

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