Two Dems who dramatically fled Texas over voter bill reportedly spotted vacationing in Portugal

Two of the more than 50 Texas Democrats who fled to Washington, DC to avoid voting on Republican-backed voter integrity legislation in July are now reportedly vacationing in Portugal.

Reps. Julie Johnson and Jessica González and their partners had allegedly planned the trip for more than a year and a half in advance of going to DC. They had non-refundable tickets and simply had to go according to Texas Monthly reporter Jonathan Tilove.

Tilove tweeted, “Hi. Covering the TXDEMS in DC for @TexasMonthly. Can confirm @juliejohnsonTX and her wife & @jessicafortexas and her fiancé are in Portugal for a vacation they had been planning with non-refundable tickets, for a year-and-a-half. Still participating in caucus meetings via ZOOM.”

The Democrats are downplaying their noticeable absence saying that it does not affect Democratic legislators’ bid to block the Republican’s election bill as long as there isn’t a quorum at the state capitol in Austin. But the trip is definitely bad optics for Democrats and it comes on top of several of those same Texas Democrats testing positive for COVID-19.

González is the vice-chair of the Texas House Elections Committee which makes her absence even more problematic. Republicans pounced on the Democrats’ “European vacay.”

Texas GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw tore into the Democrat legislators on Twitter, snarking, “Please pray for these heroic Texas Democrats as they suffer away from home, in Portugal. Perhaps consider sending them a care package?”

“Wow, just wow. Had to cancel my family’s vacation last week to Grand Teton [National Park] because of a special session they helped create back in May,” state Rep. Tom Oliverson of Cypress tweeted. “Texas deserves better than this.”

GOP State Rep. Jared Patterson angrily tweeted, “Rs are at work in Austin trying to get help to the 400 foster kids sleeping in CPS offices under fluorescent lights while Texas Ds (@juliejohnsonTX & @jessicafortexas) are off on private jets and luxury European vacations. How disgusting is this? Come home and get to work!”

Dallas Democrats even took up a collection for “Dr. Pepper, salsa, hard candy, hairspray, travel toiletries, hand sanitizers, sewing kits, first aid, and/ or $ to pay shipping” to help fugitive Texas legislators in need.

The Texas House Democratic Caucus could not account on Tuesday for the two Democrats. They were not with other House Democrats in the nation’s Capitol. Johnson, Gonzalez, and their staff seem to be avoiding commenting on the subject.

However, Gonzalez did text message the San Antonio Express-News Tuesday evening and referred to the Portugal trip as “rumors” and said, “No one has shown proof.”

“These are rumors, period,” she declared. “End of story.”

The news of the legislators’ trip broke as more than 100 state legislators from across the nation fly in for a “week of action” to promote the “For the People” Act, a sweeping voting rights bill that would hand complete control of elections over to the federal government. It is currently stalled in the Senate.

Just hours before word leaked that Johnson and González were allegedly missing from DC, three of their Democratic colleagues held a news conference expressing optimism about the federal elections push.

“We are squarely focused on getting those pieces moving,” state Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso declared to The Texas Tribune. “I think we’re gonna have a lot of success this week.”

The two wayward Democrats were torched on Twitter: (** Language warning)

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