Four-term Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale) announced she would challenge Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) in the Republican primary.
“Bob Hall’s heart is in the right place, but he’s not been effective in promoting the values we share,” Burkett said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News. “I have a history of showing I can get things done.”
Burkett was first elected in 2010 when she unseated former Rep. Robert Miklos (D-Mesquite), 52%-48%. She has been re-elected three times.
Hall is serving his first term after ousting former Sen. Bob Deuell in the 2014 Republican primary runoff, 50.4%-49.6%. Hall finished second to Deuell in the three-way primary. Among HD113 voters, Hall won the runoff over Deuell, 55%-45%, after finishing second to Deuell in the primary (49%-36%). Within Burkett’s district, Hall gained 142 voters between the runoff and the primary while Deuell lost 514.
“Liberal forces have found an ally in Cindy Burkett,” Hall said in a statement, citing his rankings as one of the most conservative senators. “The contrast will be clear to the voters. We welcome the challenge.”
Just four sitting representatives have challenged incumbent senators seeking re-election since 2002, and only one, Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio), was successful. He defeated former Sen. Frank Madla (D-San Antonio) in the 2006 Democratic primary. Former Reps. Mark Shelton (R-Fort Worth) and John Shields (R-San Antonio) lost races against Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) in 2008 and Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio), respectively.
Since 2012, 11 sitting state representatives have won promotions to the Senate, including four by special election. Another eight were unsuccessful, including three in a special election.
Since 2002, five incumbent state senators have lost re-election bids, including three since 2012. Those three – former Sens. John Carona (R-Dallas), Deuell and Wentworth – all lost in Republican primary or runoff elections.
Two other candidates – both expected to run as Democrats – have also announced for the race: Garland atheist activist Aron Ra and Dallas nonprofit manager Kendall Scudder. In a Facebook post, Scudder said, “Bob and Cindy are two sides of the same coin, and the people of North Texas are ready to take our government back from these politicians run amok.”
Hall reported having $251K on hand as of June 30 after raising $178K after the end of the legislative session moratorium, including $50K from the Empower Texans PAC and $25K from Cisco businessman Farris Wilks. Burkett reported having $33K on hand and $24K in contributions. Scudder reported $10K on hand after raising $25K, about half of which were in-kind contributions for web/graphic design and political consulting. Ra reported having less than $500 on hand.
Burkett is the fourth House member to announce she would not be seeking another term in the chamber, joining Reps. Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock), Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands) and Jodie Laubenberg (R-Wylie).
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