88th LegislatureEducationElections 2022Immigration & BorderIssuesCollin County Runoffs for Toss-up Texas House Seat Marked by Staunch Appeals to Parties’ Bases

Governor Greg Abbott has endorsed Jamee Jolly in the Republican runoff, while Senator Ted Cruz endorsed Eric Bowlin.
April 21, 2022
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Four contenders are competing in runoffs for a Collin County Texas House district that could be a coin toss in November as the Republican candidates display their conservative bona fides while Democrats hope to turn the seat blue.

The runoff is set for May 24.

In House District (HD) 70, Republicans Jamee Jolly and Eric Bowlin are in a runoff to challenge either Cassandra Garcia Hernandez or Mihaela Plesa, who are competing in the Democratic runoff.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) endorsed Bowlin and four other candidates in Republican runoffs for Texas House seats whose opponents were endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

On primary election day, Jolly came in first with 38 percent of the vote, while Bowlin made the runoff with 32 percent of the vote.

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When asked by The Texan about Cruz’s backing of him as opposed to Abbott’s support of Jolly, Bowlin contended that the endorsements of Cruz and other conservatives “highlight the difference between us as candidates.”

“Ted Cruz is one of the most conservative senators. He’s a good, conservative fighter for our cause,” Bowlin told The Texan. “And he’s endorsed me, just like I’m endorsed by other good, conservative people, as well, like Senator Bob Hall …”

Bowlin commented that he was “a little bit surprised” by Abbott endorsing Jolly but that “Governor Abbott has endorsed the more liberal candidate in virtually every race around the state, at least that’s what I’ve read and seen.”

Characterizing Abbott’s actions to deter illegal immigration as “moving in the right direction,” Bowlin asserted that Texas should continue to work on the border wall and take other measures to reduce illegal crossings in the federal government’s absence.

Jolly’s campaign has also emphasized border security, promising that she will “support legislation that adds more law enforcement along the border to combat human trafficking, drug trafficking, and the unsustainable flow of migrants pouring across our Southern Border.”

In terms of education, Bowlin told The Texan that he supports the public school system and called Plano area schools “some of the best schools in the state.”

He also emphasized the importance of parents having a say in what is taught in the classroom. 

“Ultimately it’s parents who are in charge. Ultimately, the parents are the ones who should be making the decisions related to their children, whatever it may be,” Bowlin told The Texan.

Jolly supports more education funding and opposes “the siphoning of so much of our local school funds away from us.”

“The children in Texas deserve the best education possible, including proper funding in classrooms, and additional resources for our teachers,” Jolly’s campaign website states.

Democrats, meanwhile, are not shying away from appealing to agitation with Republicans over last year’s legislative sessions.

Hernandez, a personal injury lawyer, has condemned the new maps for legislative districts, highlighting that Collin County is one of the few tossups this cycle.

“Due to redistricting, our race in [HD 70] has been flagged as one of only three competitive races across Texas in 2022. For the first time in decades, [Collin County] has a fighting chance to send a Democrat to the [Texas legislature],” Hernandez wrote on social media on Wednesday.

“The Runoff Election is May 24th. [Hernandez’s campaign] is the only team prepared to compete against a well-funded extremist for this newly drawn swing seat.”

Plesa barely advanced to the runoff when she defeated the third-place finisher, Lorenzo Sanchez, by only 29 votes in the Democratic primary.

“As your State Representative for Texas House District 70, I will work toward healthcare access and equality for all Texans regardless of gender or socioeconomic status,” Plesa wrote in a social media post this week, touting her support of abortion rights.

The campaigns of Plesa, Hernandez, and Jolly had not responded to The Texan’s requests for interviews by the time of publication.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."