87th LegislatureElections 2022State HouseState Rep. Travis Clardy Facing Three Primary Opponents in Staunchly Republican East Texas District

Travis Clardy was first elected in 2012 and was one of the Republicans who supported the expansion of Medicaid last year.
February 4, 2022
Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) is running for a sixth term in the Texas House and has three Republican primary opponents. Whoever wins the GOP nomination the deeply red East Texas district is the presumptive state representative as there are no Democratic contenders.

Clardy was among a handful of Republicans who supported Medicaid expansion. In political scientist Mark P. Jones’ analysis of the political philosophies of Texas House members, Clardy was ranked 65th, with 1st place being most conservative and 150th being most liberal.

Clardy is on the House Elections Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) and was ground zero for the initial fights over election integrity legislation.

He was one of the Republicans on the House floor arguing in favor of the original version of the election reform bill during the regular session before Democrats broke quorum and killed it.

Clardy’s predecessor, former Rep. Chuck Hopson (R-Jacksonville), had switched his party affiliation from

The Texan Tumbler

Greg Caldwell

Democratic to Republican in late 2009, the year President Obama was inaugurated.

When Hopson ran in the Republican primary for the first time in 2010, he defeated two primary opponents with 61 percent of the vote. After the 82nd Legislature redrew Hopson’s district in 2011 to include Nacogdoches County, Clardy finished in the primary with only 160 fewer votes than Hopson. There had been three candidates in the race, so the contest went to a runoff.

In the runoff, Hopson lost with 49 percent of the vote to Clardy’s 51 percent, and Clardy won the general election.

Rachel Hale

He is facing three primary opponents this time around: Rachel Hale, Greg Caldwell, and Mark Williams.

Hale runs a business with her family in Rusk County and has advocated in front of the State Board of Education against critical race theory and explicit sex education curriculum.

She pointed to Clardy’s vote to expand Medicaid and other instances she contends he has sided against conservatives.

“First of all, just because you have an ‘R’ behind your name does not mean that you’re necessarily a conservative Republican,” Hale told The Texan in an interview. “[Clardy] gives his vote a lot to the Democrats. If you’re truly a conservative Republican, you’re not going to give your vote to the Democrats.”

Hale and Caldwell both stressed their opposition to restrictive COVID-19 measures and said they support a

Mark Williams

fourth special session of the Legislature to prohibit vaccine mandates.

In an interview with The Texan, Caldwell emphasized his support for term limits and his opposition to taxpayer-funded lobbying.

“Mr. Clardy has been in office 10 years now. I think that leads to a problem with legislators in general. They get to the point where they’re more worried about their being reelected again than representing their constituency,” Caldwell said.

Clardy’s and Williams’ campaigns did not respond to a request for comment.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior 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."