On Tuesday evening the Kaufman County Republican Party held the last of three candidate forums formatted to introduce their candidates to the voters, and this event specifically highlighted the candidates seeking election as State and US House Representative and Texas State Senator.
The forum ran two hours long with no intermission, and with early voting beginning next week it was interesting to observe the “handlers” of several of the candidates working the back of the room in an effort to obtain needed support for their candidates.
The voters need only review the photographs published of the audience to see that the Kaufman County Republican Party is again split between two warring factions. The original members of the Kaufman County Republican Party and the split-off Republican faction known as the Kaufman County Tea Party, which is led by President Ray Myers and web-master Jan Shedd.
A race that will undoubtedly result in a run-off election between the top two candidates, Republican Party Chair Jimmy Weaver announced the order in which these candidates would introduce themselves and first to the podium was longtime Forney resident and FISD Board President, candidate Keith Bell.
After speaking of his family and business, Candidate Bell said “All of these candidate’s up here are solid people that have all different kinds of experience. This is a process and its short lived so this is what I think. I’ll tell you that my beliefs created my morals, my values and my character. And the character of people create our culture wither it’s at Kaufman High School, Intex Electric, Forney ISD or in our state and local elections.”
The candidates in this race were asked the same three questions. Two of the questions pertained to school finance and public school vouchers, and the third question referenced the recent sanctioning of Speaker of the House Joe Strauss. Clearly a question submitted to initiate controversy, commendably each of the candidates in this race hesitated to answer the third question based on the fact that Speaker Strauss is retiring and will therefore not be Speaker of the House should they be elected to office.
Another race that is sure to result in a run-off election is the eight candidate competition between candidates Danny Campbell, Lance Gooden, David Williams, Sam Dean, Kenneth Sheets, Bunni Pounds, Jason Wright and Charles Lingerfelt for US House Representative District 5.
These candidates were informed by Republican Party Chair Jimmy Weaver of their seating order, and then they were each given two minutes to introduce themselves to the voters.
The candidates for US House Rep. were next asked three questions which revolved around balancing the national budget, the amount of campaign donations they’ve accepted and the specific endorsements they’re received.
Hoping to represent the voters in Washington, current Texas House Representative Lance Gooden said “This is a very important race for this county. It’s important that we have a rural candidate in this race to go to Congress and represent our real values. Kaufman County hasn’t had that in Congress for some time so we need to elect one of our own to represent us in Washington. There are only three candidates in this race that actually live in this District like myself, so I’ll commend Sam Deen and Ken Sheets for living here, everyone else either doesn’t live in the District or just moved here since Jeb Hersarling announces he is not seeking re-election.”
Explaining his statement Gooden said “Why is this important? Because it’s hard to go to Washington and say you’re going to work for the folks back home when you don’t live with the folks back home so its really important to we have someone from this area in Washington that relates to us and cand represents our conservative values in Washington.”
Although the popular candidate’s in this race may appear to be State Rep. Lance Gooden and Hensarling endorsed candidate Bunni Pounds; in truth the voters have several really good candidates to choose from in this race, including candidates Sam Dean and Danny Campbell.
And lastly, the Kaufman County Republican Party is most visibly split within the District 2 State Senator race which is between Tea Party top candidate, Incumbent Senator Bob Hall and his Republican opponent, four-term District 113 House Representative Cindy Burkett.
This is a win or lose race between two seasoned politicians who each have legislative records of service in Austin to lay claim to; however the voters need only watch the facial expressions of Senator Hall as his opponent speaks to get a true glimpse of the animosity that fuels the hatred between the members of the KCO Republican Party and the Kaufman County Tea Party.
Incumbent Senator Bob Hall stated “I went to Austin and I did want I said I was going to do. Promises made, were promises kept. I went down there as a full-time conservative, not as a part-time conservative. My performance down there and my effectiveness have been demonstrated by the number of endorsements I’ve received from around the state from legitimate conservative organizations.”
Speaking of her education and experience working for former Senator Bob Deuell, Hall, candidate Cindy Burkett said “After the House District that I now represent went to a Democrat during the Obama sweep I had several friends approach me about running for the State House. And after a two way primary and a very vigorous primary November election, I’m happy to report we took that House seat back and I’m kept in for four terms.”
Early Voting for the Republican Primary Election begins on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Voters interested in exercising their right to vote for the candidate of their choice, may click here to locate a voting location.
Written by: Denise Bell