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Texas House incumbents Justin Holland and Frederick Frazier come up short in Collin County runoffs

Voters chat candidates before the Collin County GOP candidate runoff forum Thursday, April 25, 2024, at Holiday Inn & Suites in McKinney.
Yfat Yossifor
/
KERA
Collin County had several GOP primary runoffs on the ballot. Some of the candidates participated in a forum hosted by the Collin County Conservative Republicans in McKinney before the election.

Collin County voters hit the polls for primary runoffs despite inclement weather on election day — and several others cast their ballots early.

Below are preliminary unofficial results of races that include all of and parts of Collin County as of Tuesday night.

Texas House District 33

Former spokesperson for the Donald Trump campaign Katrina Pierson appears to have ousted incumbent Rep. Justin Holland. Pierson was endorsed by several prominent Texas Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The district includes a small portion of Collin County, with most of it in Rockwall County. Pierson received about 66% of the vote in Collin County as of late Tuesday night with 38 out of 38 voting centers reporting. Holland got about 34% of Collin County's vote. In Rockwall County, Pierson won about 54% of the vote with six out of six voting centers reporting. Holland appears to have got 46% of Rockwall's vote.

Holland cast some controversial votes last session. He voted in favor of a bill that would have raised the age to purchase assault rifles from 18 to 21 if passed. He also voted for impeaching Paxton and against Abbott’s school voucher program.

Abbott’s fight to pass what he calls "school choice" failed in the legislature — so he took it to the voting booth. He supported several primary challengers of incumbent Republicans who voted against school vouchers, including Pierson. Paxton endorsed Pierson before the March primary.

Holland faced backlash for his controversial votes. The Rockwall County Republican Party chapter condemned Holland on social media before the March primary, saying he went against Republican priorities.

“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.”

Holland and Pierson’s results in March were close — Holland received about 39% of the vote. Pierson got about 40% of the vote. Dennis London, who wasn’t on the ballot during the runoff, received about 22%.

Pierson told KERA in a previous interview that the fact that a majority of voters supported her or London in March was significant.

“I think that speaks volumes and a testament to the fact that they feel like he turned his back on the district,” she said.

Pierson received campaign donations from 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.

No Democrat filed to run for this seat, so Pierson is the presumed winner for the general election in November.

Texas House District 61

Texas House District 61 Rep. Frederick Frazier appears to have lost his seat to local businesswoman Keresa Richardson, who received about 68% of the vote on Tuesday night with 38 out of 38 voting centers in Collin County reporting. Frazier got about 32%.

Richardson received about 40% of the vote in the March primary. Frazier also won about 32% of that vote.

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.

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.

Texas State Senate District 30

State Senate District 30 encompasses a small part of Collin County. Republican Drew Springer, who currently holds the seat, announced in November that he won’t run for reelection.

Senate District 30 was the only race on the ballot for the Collin County Democratic primary runoff. Most of the Democratic candidates in Collin 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, according to unofficial Texas Secretary of State results.

Dale Frey, who was endorsed by the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star Telegram editorial boards, received around 57% of the Democratic runoff vote, defeating local pastor Michael Braxton.

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.

Brent Hagenbuch, the former Denton County Republican Party chair, appears to have won the Republican nomination for the senate seat with 57% of the vote Tuesday night. His opponent, attorney Jace Yarbrough, got about 43%. That's according to Texas Secretary of State results.

Yarbrough’s campaign recently challenged Hagenbuch’s residency. Another one of Hagenbuch’s primary opponents, Carrie de Moor, challenged Hagenbuch’s eligibility to run for the seat in court late last year 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.”

Collin County GOP Party Chair

Shelby Williams, a current Plano city council member was elected Collin County GOP Party chair with about 59% of the vote as of midnight on Tuesday.

Williams almost avoided a runoff altogether — he received about 49.7% of the vote in March, just under the amount required to not trigger a runoff. Ellen Loveless, a Collin County GOP precinct chair and executive committee member, won around 33% of the vote in March. She received 41% of the vote in the runoff.

Williams ran 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.

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 new Texas GOP state party chair, Abraham George, stepped down as Collin County’s GOP chair last year to run against Rep. Candy Noble in Texas House District 89. George lost that race and announced his intent to run for state party chair.

George, who was elected state party chair at the recent Texas GOP Convention, was backed by several prominent Texas Republicans, including former chair Matt Rinaldi and Paxton. He toldKERA in a previous interview that he plans to prioritize ensuring the Texas House has no Democratic committee chairs, eliminating property taxes and “universal school choice.”

George’s campaign faced controversy after the Texas Tribune reported that police were called to his home over a domestic disturbance in March 2023. Parker police arrived as George was allegedly leaving with a gun to confront a man he believed was having an affair with his wife according to a police incident report.

401st District Court

Kim Laseter, a former prosecutor, won the GOP runoff for 401st District Court judge with around 67% of the vote. She defeated Joel Petrazio, a private attorney who got around 33% of the vote.

Kim Laseter was the chief felony prosecutor for the Collin County District Attorney’s Office. Her campaign website lists endorsements from Collin County DA Greg Willis and Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner. She told KERA in a previous interview that 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.

U.S. House District 32

Former Arlington city council member Darrell Day received about 67% of the vote in Collin County. His opponent, David Blewett, got about 33%. In Denton County, Day appears to have won about 77% of the vote. Blewett received about 23% of Denton County's vote. At midnight with 127 out of 243 voting centers in Dallas County reporting results, Day had 63% of the vote in Dallas County. Blewett, a former Dallas city council member, had about 37%.

Congressional District 32 includes a small portion of Collin and Denton Counties. The bulk of it is in Dallas County. The incumbent, Rep. Collin Allred, is the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate who will face Senator Ted Cruz in November. Julie Johnson, a Texas House representative, is the Democratic nominee for the seat.

Day said at the Collin County Conservative Republicans candidate forum that he is eager to run against Johnson.

“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 said at the Collin County Conservative Republican candidate forum that flipping the Democratic seat will require a moderate candidate with a broader appeal like himself.

“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.”

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

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

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

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.