Elections 2020Local NewsState HouseStatewide NewsFive Candidates Seek to Replace Retiring Rep. Jonathan Stickland, Here’s Where They Stand on the Issues

With early voting underway and Super Tuesday fast approaching, here is a look at the priorities of candidates vying to replace retiring Rep. Jonathan Stickland in the Texas House.
February 19, 2020
With early voting officially underway in Texas before the Super Tuesday primaries on March 3, House District 92 in Tarrant County is a key race to watch heading into the primary election.

Tarrant County encompasses prominent cities in North Texas, including Hurst, Euless, and Bedford in addition to parts of Fort Worth, Arlington, and Grand Prairie. 

The Texas House district has been held by retiring Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford), a tea party conservative with strong grassroots support, since 2012.

During his time as a state representative, Stickland was known as a conservative firebrand willing to advance conservative beliefs even if it meant losing bipartisan support or dissenting from his own party in many circumstances.

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For Republicans candidates vying to replace Stickland, the key factor going into 2020 is whether or not candidates will run on a platform that follows in Stickland’s footsteps of being a strong voice for the conservative base or moving in a more moderate direction.

Although the district is rated as “Lean Republican” by Mark P. Jones at Rice University, Democrats are hoping for an opportunity to flip the seat now that Stickland is retiring. 

In the 2018 election, Stickland narrowly defeated Democratic challenger Steve Riddell, who is running once again in 2020, by less than 1,500 votes. 

Republican Primary Candidates

Three candidates, Jeff Cason, Taylor Gillig, and Jim Griffin, are running to replace Jonathan Stickland in the Republican primary. 

Jeff Cason is a retired sales manager with strong grassroots support and a conservative ideology similar to that of Stickland.

He has earned notable endorsements from prominent grassroots organizations, like Texas Right to Life, Empower Texans, and Texas Values Action in addition to being endorsed by Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn.

Cason ran previously in 2010 before being defeated by Todd Smith in the primary election.

If elected, Cason told The Texan his top policy priorities include:

  • Enhancing immigration laws and border security by cutting down on “magnets,” like offers of in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, and other such incentives
  • Property tax reform that freezes appraisals as a first step and ultimately, eliminating property taxes in the long run
  • Protecting the right to life and second amendment rights to gun ownership

Taylor Gillig is the youngest of the Republican candidates with past experience as a U.S. Marine infantry officer and a deployment to Afghanistan under his belt.

Though a newcomer, Gillig is running on a platform that promises to fight for small businesses by reducing taxes and regulations while also advancing free-market economics.

If elected, Gillig told The Texan his top priorities include:

  • Enhancing border security and immigration laws by working to end “catch and release”
  • Reducing and working to eliminate property taxes
  • Protecting the right to life and second amendment rights for Texas citizens

Jim Griffin is well-known throughout Tarrant County after serving as the mayor of Bedford and in a number of different local government capacities over the years. 

Unlike Cason, who has garnered strong support from grassroots organizations and embodies much of the same ideology of Stickland, Griffin’s campaign differs from the approach of Stickland. 

The former mayor of Bedford has faced opposition from grassroots organizations, like Empower Texans, claiming Griffin raised taxes while serving as a council member and during his time as mayor. Griffin has pushed back and touted his record in response.

However, Griffin has received some notable endorsements, including those from Texas Alliance for Life and a recommendation from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

If elected, Griffin’s policy priorities include:

    • Lowering property taxes
    • Making education and support for local schools a state priority 
    • Protecting gun ownership rights under the Second Amendment

Democratic Primary Candidates

After nearly flipping the district and unseating Stickland in 2018, Democratic candidates, Steve Riddell and Jeff Whitfield, hope to turn this Tarrant County seat blue in November.

Steve Riddell is a businessman from Dallas who nearly defeated Stickland in 2018.

Riddell embraces his position as a political outsider, relying more on his personal connections and business experience in the district.

If elected, Riddell’s top policy initiatives include:

  • Making education a top priority for the state’s budget and providing additional funding for public schools
  • Expanding Medicaid to able-bodied adults under Obamacare
  • Working to raise the minimum wage

Jeff Whitfield is an Air Force Academy graduate who formerly worked with The Hague where he prosecuted war crimes.

After growing up in the area before attending the Air Force Academy and spending time abroad, he is well-known throughout the local community.

Whitfield has received endorsements from Jolt Action as well as a recommendation from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

If elected, Whitfield’s top priorities include:

  • Growing the state economy and prioritizing education 
  • Expanding Medicaid to able-bodied adults under Obamacare
  • Increasing funding for public schools

Financial Filings

An overview of each candidates’ financial filings can be found below. 

Candidate Raised Spent CoH
Jeff Cason (R) $180,722.00 $62,738.81 $119,245.24
Taylor Gillig (R) $1,000.00 $4,400.49 $2,559.21
Jim Griffin (R) $9,505.00 $65,814.73 $21,971.71
Steve Riddell (D) $2,192.87 $3,671.05 $17,581.72
Jeff Whitfield (D) $4,400.00 $4,823.40 $120,303.82

More information about the House District 92 race and other key Texas races happening at the state and federal level can be found at The Texan’s War Room.


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Sarah McConnell, Reporter for The Texan

Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.