The two most outspoken conservatives in Texas—Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Greg Abbott—are at odds in two races for the state legislature. Abbott is supporting the Republican incumbents. Cruz is supporting their challengers in the Republican primary.

The two grinches of the right are diverging because of one issue: school choice. Texas is already overrun with charter schools (mostly low-performing), but the legislature has opposed vouchers for private and religious schools for years.

“Sen. Cruz believes that school choice is the most important domestic issue in the country,” Cruz spokesperson Steve Guest said in a statement. “He doesn’t hesitate to endorse and support candidates in primaries that will fight for school choice across Texas.”

Some might think that climate change or the high cost of prescription drugs or high rates of child poverty was “the most important domestic issue in the country,” but not Senator Cruz.

His own children are enrolled at the elite St. John’s School in Houston, where tuition is about $30,000 annually. If Texas were to endorse vouchers, you can be sure that they wouldn’t be large enough for any student to attend St. John’s.

The broad concept of school choice is popular among Texas Republicans. In the March primary, 88% of voters approved of a ballot proposition that asked voters whether they agreed with the statement, “Texas parents and guardians should have the right to select schools, whether public or private, for their children, and the funding should follow the student.”

But the issue divides Republican lawmakers when it comes to school voucher programs, which would let parents use public money for private school education. Rural Republicans are often the most outspoken opponents, voicing concerns that such initiatives would hurt the public schools that are the lifeblood of their tightly knit communities.

The Texas House has long been a firewall against voucher proposals. During the last regular legislative session, the chamber voted 115-29 on a budget amendment to ban school vouchers, with a majority of Republicans siding with Democrats.

Our friends, Pastors for Texas Children, has led the fight against school choice, knowing that the vast majority of students in Texas are enrolled in underfunded public schools. PTC believes in separation of church and state, and they support public schools.