State

Four Republicans Vie for Vacant Texas House Seat

Though 149 Texas House members were sworn in last week at the start of the 87th Legislative Session, the spot for House District (HD) 68 is currently empty.

That seat could be filled soon, depending on the outcome of the five-person special election in the North Texas district that will be held Saturday.

Four Republicans and one Democrat have filed for a place on the ballot in the third-most Republican-leaning House district in the state.

Charles Gregory, a retired postal worker according to his filing with the secretary of state, is the lone Democrat on the ballot, though he has filed no campaign finance report.

The Republicans who are running include financial planner John Berry, former Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley, Nocona Old Boot Factory owner Craig Carter, and attorney David Spiller.

Out of the four, Spiller has the clear lead in fundraising and spending based on the pre-election finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC).

Spiller has raised $95,000 on top of a $30,000 self-loan to his campaign and has spent $82,000.

Notably, he also received the endorsement of former Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Boosted with a $50,000 loan from his own business, Carter has raised $9,000 and spent $50,000 between December 30 and January 13.

Carter previously ran in the special election for Senate District (SD) 30, which has four counties that overlap with HD 68, including its largest, Cooke County.

Brinkley, who was the top executive in Cooke County before he resigned to run for HD 68, has raised $14,000, loaned his campaign $12,000, and spent $19,000 as of January 13.

Berry, who also filled an unexpired term on the Jack County Commissioner’s Court, has received the backing of the Texas Home School Coalition and Rep. Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville), who gave $2,500 to Berry’s campaign.

If one of the four candidates is able to secure a majority of the vote on Saturday, they’ll be sworn into the legislature soon, likely before much business is accomplished given the slow start to the session in light of COVID-19 precautions.

But if no candidate receives over half of the vote, a runoff election will be needed to determine who will fill the seat.

The time it takes to conduct a runoff election could take up a large chunk of the time-constrained session.

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