Special Election for Texas Senate Seat Heats Up

Special Election for Texas Senate Seat Heats Up

HOUSTON, Texas — In just over a month, voters in Texas Senate District 28 will head to the polls to choose who will replace Robert Duncan in the Texas Senate. Governor Rick Perry surprised many when he chose September 9 as the date of the special election. That date meant that potential candidates had until August 1 to file their paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office. Six candidates submitted the necessary paperwork. The names include one current State Representative, one former State Representative, and a former Bush administration official.

State Representative Charles Perry who had been talked about for months as a possible successor to Duncan’s seat will face former Texas Tech vice chancellor Jodey Arrington, former State Representative Delwin Jones, the former Mayor of Sweetwater Greg Wortham who is running as a Democrat, Kerry McKennon who announced he is running as a Libertarian, and Wolfforth resident Epifanio Gaza in the upcoming election.

Perry has represented House District 83 since 2010 when he defeated Delwin Jones in a runoff election during the Republican Primary. Perry has been seen as one of the more conservative lawmakers in the Texas House and has said previously that he would bring more conservatism to the Texas Senate. Arrington is a former vice chancellor of Texas Tech University and also spent time in the Bush administration, something his campaign has been quick to highlight.

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal recently published a story about who is backing Arrington. The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce backed organization Imagine Lubbock Together has seen many of their own leaders pour money into Arrington’s campaign. As Breitbart Texas previously reported, Imagine Lubbock Together leaders sought in 2013 legislation that would allow the sales tax in Lubbock to be increased by one cent. House Representatives Charles Perry and John Frullo who represent Lubbock were against the measure as was then Senator Robert Duncan. The chairwoman of Imagine Lubbock Together told the Lubbock newspaper that Perry wasn’t willing to work with the organization on the one cent sales tax increase.

The other big name candidate in the race surprised many when he announced he would run for the Senate seat. At age 90, Delwin Jones is not finished with West Texas politics. Jones is no stranger to the Texas Legislature having served for 31 years as the representative for District 83. Jones was first elected as a Democrat in 1964 but was then defeated in 1972 by Pete Laney. Jones was later elected back to the Texas House in 1988 as a Republican and held that seat until he was defeated by Charles Perry in 2011. In 2012, Jones failed in a bid to unseat Perry in the Republican primary.

While Jones his offering his experience as the reason officials should put him on the November ballot, it might just be his experience and voting record that puts him at odds with the conservative district. Jones’ positions on some issues are in direct conflict with not only conservatives, but with the lawmaker he is hoping to succeed in Charles Perry. In 1995, Jones was the only Republican to vote against concealed carry legislation. In 2007, Jones voted against Voter ID, and voted in favor of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants in 2001. In 2009, Jones was one of eleven House Republicans that joined with Democrats to unseat House Speaker Tom Craddick of Midland and replace him with current Speaker, Joe Straus.

Despite the short campaign calendar, two of the candidates aren’t having any trouble raising money. As of June 30, Perry had raised just over $130,000 this year with $194,654 in the bank. Perry’s main opponent in the race is former Texas Tech vice chancellor Jodey Arrington. As of June 30, Arrington had raised $206,650 with $201,105 in the bank. Perry recently told reporters that he was not worried about raising less money than Arrington.