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Candidates Battle To The Close In Dallas County Contest

One of the most competitive State House races pits two attorneys against each other in the battle for District 107. It covers parts of East Dallas, Mesquite and Garland.

Rep. Kenneth Sheets is the Republican, and former Rep. Robert Miklos is the Democratic challenger.

The two candidates push toward Austin with very different ideas.

Miklos and his campaign team say they’ve knocked on a lot of doors -- nearly 68,000. They post their ground-game total on their website each day.

“We don’t sit back, put our hand out and ask the lobby the hand us money. We’re actually going out and talking with the citizens on a door-to-door basis to find out what they care about," Miklos says. "So we know what they care about and that’s why we believe, the campaign believes and I believe very strongly that my values and the community values are one in the same.”

District 107 incumbent Kenneth Sheets, a Republican, is campaigning with two of the state’s GOP heavy hitters: U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz and State Republican Party chair Steve Munisteri.

“I’m telling the voters the straight truth, I’m talking to them about the issues, I’m treating them like grownups and I’m giving them the full picture," Sheets says. "And voters need to take a look at that, when they’re hearing from both sides, listen to the entire message and see who you want to be making decisions for you down in Austin.”

A top priority for Miklos is public education funding, something he faults Sheets for not defending.

“Not only does my opponent have a zero percent voting record on public education, and what I mean by zero percent, he voted to take the caps off class sizes so class sizes could expand, he voted to cut not only the $5.4 billion that we’ve seen, but the original house budget that was more than $8 million, he voted for those cuts," Miklos says. "So there wasn’t a cut that he didn’t vote for.”

Sheets says lifting caps on class size saves school districts money. As for the cuts last legislative session, Sheets blames previous lawmakers, including Miklos, for irresponsible budgeting.

When asked about issues important to him, Sheets talks about the economy.

“We’ve proven through the last session the way that we handled the economic downturn, the way that we handled a difficult budget session that we kept our families in mind and we kept our small businesses in mind so that we weren’t creating additional hardships on them so they could continue to employ people and expand the economy," Sheets says.

With less than a week left to campaign, both candidates believe they can win and hope the final days will make all the difference.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.