Three Republicans running to fill an open North Texas House seat answered questions Monday night about their qualifications and stances on key issues.

Paul Chabot, Frederick Frazier, and Jim Herblin participated in the forum for state House District 61 candidates, held in McKinney by Constitutional Texans.

As redrawn during last year’s redistricting, HD 61 covers a vertical slice of Collin County that includes parts of McKinney and Frisco. The area is currently within House District 70 and represented by four-term State Rep. Scott Sanford (R–McKinney), who chose not to run for re-election.

Candidates

Chabot is a former military intelligence officer and retired deputy sheriff who relocated his family from California to McKinney in 2016. He now runs the nationwide real estate company Conservative Move and has founded organizations to prevent youth drug use. Chabot said he wants Texas to avoid following California’s decline.

“I’ve seen what can happen to a once-great red state like Texas or California when you have policies that begin to dismantle family networks,” Chabot said.

Frazier is a Dallas police officer who served on the McKinney City Council for three years until resigning to run for the Texas Legislature. He chairs the Dallas Police Association’s political action committee, a position he said has given him experience drafting legislation and working with lawmakers while lobbying in Austin on behalf of law enforcement. He said he understands the community’s needs, and the community listens to him because he can get things done.

“I want to be your voice,” Frazier told the audience.

Herblin—a forensic accountant and small-business owner—is also a former school board member in Richardson ISD, where he said he stood against the establishment. He says Republicans have controlled the Legislature for years but failed to pass grassroots priorities.

“The main reason I’m running is we keep sending people to Austin who don’t do what we ask them to do,” Herblin said.

Questions and Answers

In a series of short-answer questions, all three candidates agreed Gov. Greg Abbott has “exceeded his constitutional authority” and said they would support “full constitutional carry,” a non-binding “Texit” vote, and building a wall along Texas’ southern border.

They also all said they are for limited government.

Frazier was the lone “no” on whether he would support replacing the current House speaker, and the only “yes” on whether he would vote for a speaker who continues to appoint Democrats as committee chairs.

All three also agreed they oppose mask and vaccine mandates, and would support a ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying—a top Texas GOP priority for 2019 and 2021 that the Republican-run Legislature failed to pass.

In response to an audience question, Chabot, Frazier, and Herblin all said they would approve a state law to remove obscenity exemptions, which allow otherwise-illegal sexually explicit material to be available to minors inside public schools and libraries.

Each candidate identified their top three issues:

Herblin listed education, election integrity, and securing the border. “We talk tough, but we walk weak,” he said.

 

Chabot listed border security, property tax reduction, and curbing youth drug use. “Every single school has a problem,” he said.

 

Frazier listed public safety, lowering property taxes by repealing House Bill 3 (school finance reform), and securing the border. “The cartels are in complete control because we’ve allowed them to be in complete control,” Frazier said.

Herblin said the one thing that qualifies him most to do the job of state representative is that he’s stood up to the majority and won’t “go along to get along” with other politicians. “We have to send people to Austin who are going to go down there and respond to our constituents,” he said.

Chabot said one of his qualifications is life experience; though he grew up poor and without a dad around, he worked hard and overcame obstacles. “It’s about not giving up and leading by example,” he said.

Frazier cited his years of experience working successfully with Austin lawmakers. “I’ve been down there testifying on bills,” he said.

In a straw poll at the end of the forum, 46 percent said Herblin was their first choice, followed by Chabot at 35 percent and Frazier at 19 percent.

If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the Republican primary, the top two finishers will go to a runoff.

The GOP primary winner will face Democrat Sheena King in the November general election.

Early voting in the March 1 primary begins on February 14.