Battleground 2020Elections 2020IssuesState HouseStatewide NewsThree Democrats Battle for Nomination to Face Republican Rep. Morgan Meyer in Dallas House Race

After Republican incumbent Morgan Meyer narrowly held on to his seat in 2018, three Democratic candidates vie for the chance to flip the Dallas district blue in 2020.
February 28, 2020
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With Super Tuesday fast approaching, Democratic candidates in House District 108 are vying for the chance to challenge Republican incumbent Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) and turn the contested Dallas district blue in 2020.

Located in Dallas County, the district encompasses parts of North and East Dallas as well as Highland Park and University Park in their entirety.

The area is also home to a number of prominent Dallas landmarks, including Southern Methodist University (SMU), Dealy Plaza, and the American Airlines Center.

After Meyer narrowly defeated Democratic challenger Joanna Cattanach in 2018 by just over 200 votes, Texas Democrats have targeted the district as one to flip in 2020.

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Despite the fact that Meyer currently holds the seat as a Republican, Mark P. Jones of Rice University rates the district as “Lean Democratic.”

Meyer is currently serving his third term as a state representative, where he sits as Chair of the House General Investigating Committee and as members of the Public Education Committee and the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committees, though no election prior to 2018 was nearly as narrow as his win against Cattanach with 50.14 percent of the vote.

During the 86th Legislative Session, Meyer touted his work helping to pass education finance reform that provides additional funding to public schools as well as his work restricting property tax increases.

He is considered a more moderate Republican based on his voting record when compared to other state representatives within the party. 

Joanna Cattanach is hoping to secure the Democratic candidacy once again after defeating opponent, Zac Duffy, with 63 percent of the vote in 2018.

Other Democratic candidates also include businessman and former member of the Dallas Housing Financing Board,  Shawn Terry, and investment banker, Tom Ervin.

Joanna Cattanach touts her near victory against Meyer in the previous election, advocating on her campaign page finishing “the grassroots campaign we began in 2018 with a decisive win in 2020.”

Vowing to flip “this seat and the State House,” some of Cattanach’s top policy priorities should she be elected include:

    • Creating green jobs, advancing community development, and property tax reform in the form of an increase in homestead exemptions.
    • Increasing funding for Planned Parenthood, expand taxpayer subsidies under Obamacare and Medicaid. 
    • Increasing funding for education and public schools in Texas 

During her 2018 campaign, she garnered endorsements from a number of prominent organizations, including Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, and Moms Demand Action among others. 

Shawn Terry is another Democratic candidate who, notably, previously ran as the Republican challenger to Rep. Martin Frost for Texas’ 24th Congressional seat in 1998.

During this time, he advocated for banning abortion and received an A-rating from the National Rifle Association, despite now standing for mandatory background checks, red flag laws, and identifying as a progressive Democrat.

  • Some of Terry’s top priorities include:
    • Reforming property taxes and ensuring tax dollars are invested back in the local community
    • Restricting redistricting practices in Texas to mitigate gerrymandering 
    • Expanding taxpayer funding for education and public schools

Despite his Republican past, Terry has received a number of endorsements from prominent Dallas community affiliates, including the Dallas Morning News and former Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, among others. 

Since last January, Terry has raised more than any other candidate with nearly $400,000. 

By comparison, though Cattanach outraised Terry in the latest pre-primary filings, she has raised approximately $176,000 to Terry’s near $400,000 since last January.

Tom Ervin is a small business owner who touts his experience living in the district for 30 years and his service as a Democratic precinct chair.

Before running, he previously worked for Cattanach in the last election and on Rep. Colin Allred’s (D-TX-32) campaign.

Ervin told The Texan his top three policy priorities include:

    • Expanding Medicaid and “putting the measure on the ballot so Texans no longer have to suffer through partisan gridlock in Austin.”
    • Increasing state funding for public education, closing commercial property tax loopholes, and providing pay raises to teachers and administrative staff. 
    • Increasing transparency in property tax valuation , public access to transactions for commercial property, and a review of the appraisal process
    • Advancing green energy infrastructure in Texas

Ervin has been endorsed by Jolt Action and has previously advocated for Planned Parenthood and Moms Demand Action.

Pre-Primary Financial Filings

The latest eight-day filings for each candidate according to the Texas Ethics Commission are listed below.

Candidate Raised Spent CoH
Morgan Meyer (R) $321,177.39 $119,050.94 $395,691.45
Joanna Cattanach (D) $29,010.88 $76,149.87 $10,789.86
Shawn Terry (D) $15,325.20 $137,261.30 $20,703.79
Tom Ervin (D) $6,553.87 $13,119.38 $32,967.19

 

Additional information about the HD 108 race and other state and federal elections can be found at The Texan’s War Room

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Sarah McConnell

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.