Elections 2020State HouseThe Back MicThe Back Mic: Runoff Candidates Spar with Abbott, Release Attack Ads, Endorse Former Rivals

This week — developments in hot runoff races, including Gov. Abbott clashing with a retiring lawmaker, new attack ads, and endorsements from former rivals.
June 26, 2020

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Here’s a look at the latest developments in some of Texas’ hottest primary runoff races, including a clash between Governor Abbott and a retiring lawmaker, the release of new attack ads, and endorsements issued by former rivals.

Abbott and Lang Clash, Governor Endorses Jack Wilson

After a complicated decision-making process that resulted in his opting not to run for reelection to the Texas House, Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury) filed to run for Hood County Commissioner. His opponent, Jack Wilson, rose to fame after stopping the White Settlement shooter with a single shot of his own.

Lang has been vocal in his opposition to many of Governor Abbott’s coronavirus response measures, and signed onto a letter last week with three other Republican state representatives condemning Abbott’s reversal on local mask orders

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On Monday, Abbott, who rarely involves himself in local primary battles, endorsed Wilson. Soon after, Lang released a statement of his own which ended with, “Conservative leadership is speaking truth to power, maybe it is this kind of conservative leadership that needs to challenge Gov. Abbott in 2022.”

Francis Zeroes in on Rogers

Businessman Jon Francis released a new ad this week targeting his opponent, veterinarian Glenn Rogers. The two are vying for House District 60, the seat Lang will soon vacate.

The ad focuses on three issues that would place Rogers at odds with most Republican primary voters, asserting he:

  • Supports taxpayer-funded lobbying
  • Opposes constitutional carry
  • Has taken campaign donations from a group that supports late-term abortions

For a detailed look at where the candidates stand on each of these issues, among others, click here

Empower Texans Controversy Makes First Appearance in New Ad

In House District 2, Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Canton) released an ad targeting his repeat challenger, Bryan Slaton, and his affiliation with the conservative grassroots group Empower Texans.

Last Friday, a recording surfaced of two Empower Texans’ staffers using a series of expletives and making disparaging and insulting remarks about Governor Abbott.

First reported by the Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek, Flynn’s campaign ad highlights a portion of that recording as well as Abbott’s endorsement of Flynn.

The two are facing off for the third time after Slaton has repeatedly come close to unseating the 17-year incumbent.

Sheffield Receives Endorsement from Former Rival

Rep. J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville) is facing a challenge from attorney Shelby Slawson in House District 59.

Though it appeared as though Slawson might win the March primary outright without having to bother with a runoff, she secured 46 percent of the vote to Sheffield’s 30 percent.

This week, the candidate who finished third in the race and was therefore eliminated from ballot consideration, Cody Johnson, endorsed Sheffield.


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McKenzie DiLullo

McKenzie DiLullo serves as Senior Editor at The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.