Six candidates are in the running for the special election for Texas State Senate District 30 on Sept. 29, with early voting starting Sept. 14, to replace outgoing incumbent Sen. Pat Fallon, R-Prosper.
Vacating his seat on Aug. 23 after the county GOP nominated him, Fallon will run in the Nov. 3 general election for Texas’s 4th congressional district in the national Congress against Democrat Russell Foster. The winner will be replacing Sen. John Ratcliffe, R-Heath, who serves as director of national intelligence.
Five candidates are running on a Republican platform – Craig Carter, Andy Hopper, Shelley Luther, Rep. Drew Springer Jr. and Denton Mayor Chris Watts. The sole Democrat running is Jacob Minter.
A businessman and entrepreneur, Craig Carter has been involved in converting Nocona’s shuttered boot factory into a food pantry and community outreach center. He lives in the area with his wife and four children. He is running on a pro-life, pro-gun and pro-business platform, according to his website.
“The next legislative session is going to present some very serious challenges, and it is going to take people with real-world experience to meet those challenges,” Carter said in a press release sent to the North Texas Daily. “It is clear to me, based on the positive responses that I have received, that the good people of this district want someone with business experience, not another career politician serving them in Austin. I believe in giving back to this community that has given so much to me and my family. I view serving in the Texas Senate, where I will put my skills to work balancing the budget, preserving our freedom, defending life and getting the economy going again, as another opportunity to give back.”
A UNT engineering graduate and Texas State Guard member, Andy Hopper lives in rural Decatur with his wife and three kids. Hopper’s platform promises more state autonomy over border control, limiting federal regulations and pro-life measures among other policies.
“I am running for Texas Senate District 30 because I believe that Texas is best run by Texans, and not 2.5 million unelected federal bureaucrats and judges in Washington, D.C.,” Hopper said in an email to the Daily. “As a strong believer in the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, I believe that Texas must rediscover a new working relationship with the Federal Government: one which affirms our right to unimpaired local rule per Article 1, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution. As well, I believe that Texans are currently being crushed by rising property taxes, and the ‘relief’ that was passed in the last legislative session did not meet the expectations of Texans who are concerned about being taxed out of their houses and off their ranches. Finally, as a small farmer, I believe that the best way to become a big farmer is to start out as a small farmer and that Texas makes it very difficult for young people to get started in agriculture. We must reduce regulation and make it easier for folks to convert non-ag property to agricultural use. I strongly believe that Texas is more than a state and that it is the solemn duty of Texans to stand up and protect our magnificent home.”
Shelley Luther is the owner of a Dallas salon who was arrested for operating her business during the statewide shutdown ordered by Gov. Abbott. A makeup artist, band member and former educator, Luther’s platform promotes policies include those of pro-life, protecting police and banning the gender transition of minors. Luther announced her intention to run during a Back the Blue rally held in Denton last month.
The Daily was in contact with a member of Luther’s campaign but received no comment.
Jacob Minter is an electrician residing in Anna with his wife and son, also serving as the recording secretary for the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union. He is running on a pro-choice, pro-union and pro-gun rights platform.
“As State Senator for District 30, my goal would be to better the lives of those in the communities of our district, especially those in the rural areas,” Minter said in an email to the Daily. “There are a lot of rural areas in our district with little access to healthcare. Because of this, I plan on working to increase the number of small trauma and Community Health Centers available to those communities. I also plan to fight for better wages for our teachers, as the plan from the 2019 legislative session felt like a token raise more than anything. I’ve got a plan to help lower the property taxes in our communities to help ease the burden of homeownership, as well as make it more attainable for those still working hard to make their own home a reality. And finally, I’d like to work with the District Attorneys of Senate District 30’s 14 counties to help create programs similar to Dallas County’s AIM (Achieve, Inspire, Motivate). It helps turn first-time offenders back on to the right track, and helps reduce recidivism in non-violent offenders instead of putting them in a jail where they are more likely to fall deeper into a terrible cycle.”
Representative Drew Springer Jr., R-Muenster, has been currently serving in the state House for District 68 since 2013. While Springer Jr. is running for SD 30, he is also running for reelection of his current seat. He lives with his wife in Lydia County. Springer Jr. is running a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-police policies platform, according to his website.
“I am running for state senate to serve my community and stand strong for the values that have made Texas the most prosperous state in the nation,” Springer said in an email to the Daily. “My priorities include reigning in out-of-control property taxes, stopping taxpayer-funded lobbying and standing up for law enforcement to keep our communities and schools safe.”
Chris Watts has been mayor of Denton since 2014, resigning from his position late last month. He will continue to serve as mayor for the remainder of his term, until the city elections which are also set for Nov. 3. Watt’s platform supports more government programs to assist veterans, private property rights and to further funding for public education among others, according to his website.
Watts did not respond to requests for comment.
As an open primary state, Texas does not require any prior registration with a political party. Early voting will run from Sept. 14 to Sept. 25, while locations for both early voting and election day voting can be found on the Vote Denton website. Maps are also available for both before and during election day.
Courtesy Facebook, Craig Carter, Mayor Chris Watts