The legislature redrew HD 60 to include Stephens, Palo Pinto, and Parker counties.
Olcott forced Rogers to a runoff on primary day when the incumbent received 44 percent of the vote and his challenger received 36 percent. Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall and attorney Lucas Turner did not advance to the runoff.
Rogers, who succeeded Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury), was rated 54th of 149 on a scale of Texas House members from most conservative to most liberal during the 87th Legislature’s regular session. The analysis was designed by political scientist Mark P. Jones.
Rogers’ opponent in the 2020 Republican runoff, Jon Francis, contributed $1,500 to Olcott’s campaign. Olcott also banked a $20,000 contribution from former state Sen. Don Huffines, who unsuccessfully challenged Gov. Greg Abbott in the Republican primary.
Olcott also received a $75,000 contribution from billionaire Jo Ann Wilks. The Wilks family is in the hydraulic fracturing business and has donated millions of dollars to conservative political causes in years past.
Meanwhile, Rogers reported three quarters of a million dollars in contributions to his campaign. About a third of this funding came from in-kind contributions by Speaker Dade Phelan’s (R-Beaumont) campaign.
Rogers also has $98,000 in cash on hand and $79,000 in campaign debt.
Matt Rinaldi, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, offered support to Olcott, calling him “an honest man whose integrity is truly unquestionable.”
Though Abbott had not endorsed him before primary day, Rogers received the governor’s support after Olcott forced him to a runoff.
On the other hand, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) backed Olcott, one of five Republican runoff candidates the senator endorsed whose opponents Abbott is supporting.
A critical issue for Cruz is school choice, which will likely be an item of debate in the next regular legislative session, set to begin in January. The senator has indicated that he will almost certainly decline to support any candidate opposed to school choice.
Abbott recently signaled he is open to the possibility of advancing school choice, though he did not mention vouchers specifically when he spoke about the issue at a campaign event.
Rogers is a staunch opponent of school vouchers. In a column published in the Brownswood News, he called them a “slippery slope” and argued they would undermine transparency and quality in the public school system.
Reps. Kyle Kacal (R-College Station), Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton), and Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) are the other Republican incumbents vying in runoffs on Tuesday.
Early voting ends Friday, May 20 and the runoff election is Tuesday, May 24.
Editor’s note: The article has been updated with revised context regarding the relationship between Rinaldi and Olcott.
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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."