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What you need to know about the Collin County's primary runoffs

Voters hold pamphlets for candidates during the Collin County GOP candidate runoff forum Thursday, April 25, 2024, at Holiday Inn & Suites in McKinney.
Yfat Yossifor
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KERA
Collin County has several GOP primary runoffs. Voters heard from Republican candidates at a recent forum hosted by the Collin County Conservative Republicans.

Correction: This story has been updated to correctly report Rep. Frederick Frazier's plea agreement.

Collin County has several GOP primary races and one Democratic race in the upcoming runoff election on May 28.

Early voting starts May 20 and goes until May 24. Conservatives recently gathered to hear from several Republican candidates at the Collin County Conservative Republicans’ candidate forum in McKinney.

Texas House District 61

Rep. Frederick Frazier, District 61, answers questions during the Collin County GOP candidate runoff forum Thursday, April 25, 2024, at Holiday Inn & Suites in McKinney.
Yfat Yossifor
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KERA
Texas House District 61 Rep. Frederick Frazier is running for reelection. Gov. Greg Abbott has endorsed Frazier.

Keresa Richardson, who received about 40% of the vote in the March primary, is facing incumbent Representative Frederick Frazier in the May runoff. Frazier won about 32% of the vote.

Frazier touted his conservative legislative history at the forum, including his support for lowering property taxes. He said he wants to provide property owners more tax relief if reelected.

“We’re going to do it all over again when we go back,” Frazier said. “We’re already starting now.”

Frazier faced controversy the last time he ran in a runoff election. He pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges and not guilty to a criminal mischief charge for allegedly impersonating a McKinney city code enforcement officer during the Republican primary runoff in 2022. The Texas Tribune reported that Collin County district court judge recently dismissed the charges against Frazier. He has been discharged from the deferred adjudication plea that he accepted late last year.

Frazier has also faced criticism for voting to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton along with the other four Republican statehouse representatives from Collin County, Paxton’s home base. Paxton endorsed several of their primary challengers, including Richardson.

Keresa Richardson, candidate for Texas House District 61, answers questions during he Republican Primary Debates Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, at Collin College in McKinney.
Keresa Richardson is running to unseat Rep. Frederick Frazier in Texas House District 61. She received about 40% of the vote in March.

Richardson said at a candidate forum hosted by the Collin County Patriots before the March primary election that the impeachment highlighted a need for change at the legislature.

“I definitely believe the Paxton impeachment brought dysfunction and corruption to light,” said Richardson, a McKinney businesswoman.

Richardson wasn’t at the Collin County Conservative Republicans runoff candidate forum. A spokesperson from her campaign said she would focus on conservative priorities, including eliminating Democratic committee chairs in the Texas House.

“She is going to be the true conservative in this race,” the spokesperson said.

Frazier said at the Collin County Conservative Republicans’ debate before the March primary that working with Democrats is part of getting things done in Austin.

“We have to have bipartisan bills to work, and you have to have a group effort on certain issues to get across the finish line,” he said.

Richardson said Democratic committee chairs block conservative priorities in the legislature.

Collin County GOP Party Chair

Shelby Williams, who is on the Plano City Council is running for Collin County Republican Party Chair, talks during the Collin County GOP candidate runoff forum Thursday, April 25, 2024, at Holiday Inn & Suites in McKinney.
Yfat Yossifor
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KERA
Shelby Williams, a Plano City Council member, is running for Collin County Republican Party Chair. He received about 49.7% of the vote in March.

Shelby Williams, a current Plano city council member, will face Ellen Loveless in the Collin County GOP Party Chair runoff election. Williams received about 49.7% of the vote in March, just under the amount required to not trigger a runoff. Loveless, a Collin County GOP precinct chair and executive committee member, won around 33% of the vote.

The Collin County Conservative Republicans have endorsed both Loveless and Williams. Loveless wasn’t at the group’s most recent forum.

Williams is running on a platform of party unity, an issue that has come up since the Paxton impeachment.

“A lot of people have adopted the position that if you're not 100% with me, then you are 100% against me,” he said.

If elected, Williams said he would bring back civility and respect for differing opinions to the county party. He also said he would leverage his relationships with lawmakers in Austin to help move the Collin County GOP’s legislative priorities forward.

The GOP Party Chairman candidate Ellen Loveless answers a question during the Republican Primary Debates Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, at Collin College in McKinney.
Ellen Loveless, a Collin County GOP precinct chair until June 3, is running in the runoff election for Collin County Republican Party Chair.

Loveless said at the Collin County Patriots' forum ahead of the March primary that she'll help the party gain more members. She said sending a strong message about values is the party’s best recruitment tool.

“We will together stand firm, communicate our core values clearly, message who we are and not waver, and we will compel people to join us,” Loveless said.

Congressional District 32

David Blewett answers questions from the moderator during the Collin County GOP candidate runoff forum Thursday, April 25, 2024, at Holiday Inn & Suites in McKinney.
Yfat Yossifor
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KERA
David Blewett, a former Dallas city council member, is running in the Republican primary runoff for Texas Congressional District 32. Democrat Collin Allred currently holds the seat.

Darrell Day and David Blewett are both vying for this open seat. The incumbent, Rep. Collin Allred, is the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate who will face Senator Ted Cruz in November.

Congressional District 32 includes a small portion of Collin and Denton Counties. The rest of it is in Dallas County.

Darrell Day, a former Arlington city council member and small business owner, received about 38% of the total vote in the March primary. He received about 47% of Collin County’s GOP primary vote. He lists school choice and border security as top issues on his campaign website.

Day said he is eager to run against Julie Johnson, the Democratic nominee for the district.

“In November, we have a gift, because we have a chance to flip the seat, because Democrats have nominated one of the most whack-job, far…left lesbian activists they can find,” he said.

Blewett, a former Dallas city council member, also said the seat can be flipped. He received about 44% of the total vote in March and won around 36% of Collin County’s votes.

Blewett said flipping a Democratic seat requires a moderate candidate with a broader appeal.

“I want to hold down the right, and I'm going to be aggressive going after independence and voters in the middle, because it's the only way to flip the seat,” he said. “No Republican gets left behind.”

401st District Court

Kim Laseter, running for Judge in the 401st District Court, listens to the moderator during the Collin County GOP candidate runoff forum Thursday, April 25, 2024, at Holiday Inn & Suites in McKinney.
Yfat Yossifor
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KERA
Kim Laseter, a former prosecutor, is running as a Republican for judge of the Texas 401st District Court. She'll face Joel Petrazio, a local attorney, in the Republican primary runoff.

Kim Laseter, the former chief felony prosecutor for the Collin County District Attorney’s Office, will face Joel Petrazio, a private attorney. Laseter received about 46% of the vote. Petrazio received about 41%.

Laseter’s campaign website lists endorsements from Collin County DA Greg Willis and Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner. She said it’s important for judges to honor crime victims in their decisions.

“It’s important for a judge, really, to consider what justice means, and justice in a case is looking at the facts, and the facts are who a particular crime has harmed,” Laseter said.

State Board of Education District 12

Pam Little, Texas State Board of Education District 12, answers questions from the moderator during the Collin County GOP candidate runoff forum Thursday, April 25, 2024, at Holiday Inn & Suites in McKinney.
Yfat Yossifor
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KERA
Pam Little is running for reelection to the Texas State Board of Education. She'll face Jamie Kohlmann in the Republican primary runoff.

Pam Little, the incumbent, received about 36% of the vote during the March primary. She’ll face Jamie Kohlmann, a former education policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, who got about 27% of the vote.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently declined to reconsider a ruling that blocked part of Texas House Bill 900 from going into effect. Booksellers sued Texas after the bill, which requires booksellers to rate their books for sexual content before selling them to Texas schools, was signed into law.

Kohlmann said at the forum that Texans need to enlist the help of law enforcement to keep explicit material out of school libraries.

“That pornography needs to be reported,” she said. “It needs to be reported to your local sheriff. It needs to be reported all the way up to the Attorney General.”

Jamie Kohlmann, who is running for Texas State Board of Education District 12, answers questions from the moderator during the Collin County GOP candidate runoff forum Thursday, April 25, 2024, at Holiday Inn & Suites in McKinney.
Yfat Yossifor
/
KERA
Jamie Kohlmann is a businesswoman and former education policy analyst. She's running as a Republican to unseat Pam Little in Texas State Board of Education District 12.

Paxton has endorsed Kohlmann. Rep. Jared Patterson, who wrote the bill, has asked Paxton to appeal the court’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Little said she encouraged Keven Ellis, the chair of the State Board of Education, to put guidelines for school library book collection on the agenda. The guidelines state that school libraries must prohibit the possession of library books that are sexually explicit by the vendor or books that are “pervasively vulgar or educationally unsuitable.”

“When the decision on the court came down, I called Jared Patterson and I said, ‘okay, what now?'” Little said. “And his response was 'thank God y’all have those standards.'”

Texas House District 33

The Republican primary for the Texas House District 33 seat was close — Representative Justin Holland received about 39% of the vote. His runoff opponent is Katrina Pierson, a former campaign spokesperson for Donald Trump. She got about 40% of the vote.

Pierson touted her success during the March primary on social media.

"HD 33 had a choice — and over 60% voted for a candidate who will serve We the People, not the Austin Swamp and Democrats," she said.

Dennis London, who also ran for the seat in March, received about 22% of the vote. He won’t be on the ballot during the runoff election.

Pierson received campaign donationsfrom Texans United for a Conservative Majority. The political action committee was launched by two West Texas billionaires, Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, after their previous PAC faced controversy when its then-president met with white supremacist Nick Fuentes.

Stickland was removed as president of Defend Texas Liberty and the PAC's supporters called his infamous meeting a mistake.

The district includes only a small part of Collin County, with the bulk of it in Rockwall County. The Rockwall County GOP chapter denounced Holland on social media in January for voting in favor of impeaching Paxton and for supporting Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan.

“He has grown increasingly unresponsive to voters and the Republican Party, especially over the last two legislative sessions,” the post said. “In doing so, he has insulted and belittled local Republican voters and your Rockwall County Republican Party.”

The mayor of Rockwall, Trace Johannesen, endorsed Holland on social media in March.

“Justin Holland is a proven local leader, with a clear demonstrated track record of community service, and established relationships working with fellow Texans in Austin,” Johannesen said. “We have seen some of the most conservative legislative sessions in our time. I value his proven ability to work across the aisle when it benefits Texas and HD33.”

Holland and Pierson weren’t present at the Collin County Conservative Republicans candidate forum. No Democrats filed to run in the district's primary race, so whoever wins the runoff in May will be the sole candidate on the ballot in the general election.

Texas State Senate District 30

State Senate District 30 encompasses a small part of Collin County. None of the candidates for this seat were present at the candidate forum.

Republican Drew Springer, who currently holds the seat, announced in November that he won’t run for reelection.

Senate District 30 is the only race on the ballot for the Collin County Democratic primary runoff. Most of the Democratic candidates in the county ran unopposed in their primary races. Texas House District 67 had two candidates, Makala Washington and Jefferson Nunn. Washington won with about 66% of the vote.

Michael Braxton, one of the two Democrats vying for the Senate District 30 seat in the upcoming runoff, received about 38% of the vote. Braxton is the pastor at Bethel Community Baptist Church and owns a barbershop in Denison. His priorities include gun control and increasing minimum wage according to his campaign website.

Dale Frey is also running in the Texas Senate District 30 Democratic primary runoff race. Frey, who received about 33% of the vote in the March election, was endorsed by the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star Telegram editorial boards.

“Frey displayed a broader and savvier understanding of important issues; he gets our nod,” The Dallas Morning News editorial board said.

Frey lists expanding Medicaid and increasing funding for public schools as important issues on his campaign website. He also said the state should restore DEI programs.

Four Republicans vied for the open seat during the March primary. Brent Hagenbuch, the former Denton County Republican Party Chair, received about 36% of the vote. His campaign website lists endorsements from several prominent Texas Republicans, including Springer, Donald Trump and Gov. Greg Abbott.

One of Hagenbuch’s primary opponents, Carrie de Moor, challenged Hagenbuch’s eligibility to run for the seat in court because of allegations that he doesn’t live in the district,according to The Denton Record Chronicle. The Texas constitution requires legislative candidates to live in the district they’re running to represent for at least a year before the general election date.

Hagenbuch disputed the allegations in a previous email to KERA News.

“I am a resident of Senate District 30,” he said. “I’m spending my time campaigning for stronger borders, parent rights and a robust economy.”

The Denton County GOP’s executive committee voted earlier this year to demand that Hagenbuch drop out of the race. But a judge ruled in January that Hagenbuch can still run for the seat. De Moor’s lawsuit case is still scheduled to go to trial.

De Moor, who was endorsed by Attorney General Ken Paxton, didn’t advance to the runoff election. Jace Yarbrough, an attorney, is on the May ballot. He received about 34% of the vote in March. His campaign website lists endorsements from several conservative activists, including Julie McCarty, the CEO of the True Texas Project and Kyle Rittenhouse. The chair of the Denton County GOP, Carol Adams, also endorsed Yarbrough.

Neither Yarbrough nor Hagenbuch were present at the Collin County Conservative Republicans candidate forum.

Got a tip? Email Caroline Love at clove@kera.org.

Caroline Love is a Report For Americacorps member for KERA News.

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Caroline Love covers Collin County for KERA and is a member of the Report for America corps. Previously, Caroline covered daily news at Houston Public Media. She has a master's degree from Northwestern University with an emphasis on investigative social justice journalism. During grad school, she reported three feature stories for KERA. She also has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Texas Christian University and interned with KERA's Think in 2019.