Elections 2022Local NewsTarrant County Republican District Attorney Candidates Debate Endorsements, Experience, Policy at Forum

Republican Tarrant County district attorney candidates explained their different experiences and perspectives on issues facing Tarrant County.
April 1, 2022
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The two Republican candidates for Tarrant County District Attorney, Matt Krause and Phil Sorrells, explained their priorities and experience at a candidate forum on March 31.

Sorrells, who has been a county criminal court judge for 25 years and was a prosecutor for five years, emphasized his experience. He said the “race is at the courthouse and in the courtroom” and that he is the only one in the race who has been practicing law for the last 30 years.

Krause, who has been serving in the Texas House of Representatives for the last 10 years, pointed to his experience working on issues that matter to conservatives like border security, constitutional carry, and pro-life issues. Before he was elected to the legislature, Krause was a constitutional attorney at a national, non-profit constitutional litigation firm. 

While acknowledging he doesn’t have as much courtroom experience as Sorrells, Krause compared himself to long-time district attorney Tim Curry, who he said did not have a lot of prior experience before taking office. 

Krause said, like Curry, he will “build a team, cast a vision, and get to work,” adding that the position is a policy-driven position for which he is prepared.

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The candidates were asked about programs Sharen Wilson, the current district attorney, has implemented and how they’d continue or change them.

Krause praised Wilson’s work, saying she leaves “big shoes to fill.” He said he’d continue to bolster her conviction integrity program to “make sure that people put in prison should be there.” He also praised her elder abuse unit and crimes against children unit. He added that he’d bolster the efforts against human and drug trafficking, both issues that are exacerbated by the border crisis.

Sorrells explained that specialized units in the district attorney’s office are important because they allow prosecutors to gain expertise in handling particular kinds of cases and knowing what to look for. He agreed with Krause, but added that he’d created an election integrity unit as well.

Krause agreed with creating an election integrity unit in answering a later question.

Each candidate was asked about specific endorsements they have received and how close of a relationship they have with the endorser.

Krause was asked about his relationship with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who endorsed his campaign. He explained that he met the senator while Cruz was serving as solicitor general of Texas in 2008 or 2009. Krause supported his run for senate in 2012 and for president in 2016 and has had several interactions with him over the years, including at a recent Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast. 

“He’s seen that I’ve fought for Texas, and there is a familiarity and comfort level there,” Krause said.

Sorrells was asked about receiving an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Sorrells said he has interacted with Trump three times, first at a fundraiser in 2020 and most recently at a lunch in Houston. Sorrells gave information about his campaign to Trump’s staff. 

Before the primary, Sorrells received a phone call from Trump, who said he would endorse Sorrells’ campaign because they shared beliefs and common ground about border security, backing the blue, and other important issues.

The recent issues surrounding cash bonds and their impact on public safety were submitted to the candidates. 

Sorrells pointed out that the legislature recently passed a law about bail and bonds, the Damon Allen Act, which created an online public safety report for judges and magistrates to access more complete information about a suspect’s criminal history before setting bail. He also pointed out that there are thousands out with warrants that need to be executed.

Krause was a co-author of the Damon Allen Act to help create more communication between the district attorney’s office and the court. He said he would work with judges and law enforcement to keep those in custody who are dangerous to be released. 

Krause also said that while in the legislature he has worked for a constitutional amendment that clarifies a violent offender is not necessarily entitled to bail. However, he has not been successful in getting it passed.

Both candidates were asked about their plans to defeat the Democratic candidate in November. 

Sorrells said that being a Republican will be a big boost because “Biden has put the tractor in the ditch and all Democrats have to ride that tractor.”

Krause agreed with Sorrells’ assessment, but also pointed to his experience winning contested races in the general election. In 2020, his district was targeted and he spent $1.2 million to win. “I have been through the crucible of a November election,” he said.

The forum, held in Arlington and hosted by the Frederick Douglass Republicans of Tarrant County Political Action Committee, was moderated by Judge Kenneth Newell. 

The winner will face Democrat Tiffany Burks in November. Early voting begins on May 16 and the runoff will take place on May 24.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.