FORT WORTH, Texas—Conservatives in Cowtown are taking another shot at replacing one of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas House.
State Rep. Charlie Geren (R—Fort Worth) an eight-term incumbent, has been a fixture of the Straus regime ever since he helped depose Republican Speaker Tom Craddick of Midland in 2009. Indeed, with House Speaker Joe Straus and State Rep. Byron Cook (R—Corsicana) headed for the exits, Geren is the only politically surviving member of the famed “Polo Road Gang” of eleven turncoat Republicans who partnered with the Democrats in order to orchestrate the coup.
Since then Geren has held considerable sway and clout in the Texas House and has used it to thwart conservatives’ efforts to pass popular reforms. Just this session, Geren partnered with Democrats to water down Gov. Greg Abbott’s sanctuary cities bill and then voted against conservatives’ efforts to strengthen the legislation on the floor—a point his opponent Bo French emphasizes on the campaign trail.
“He’s out touting the fact that he sponsored the sanctuary city bill this session, good for him,” said French. “We’re going to keep telling voters how he worked to kill the legislation in the session before and how he worked with Democrats to try and water it down this time.”
French first challenged Geren in 2016 and came precariously close to defeating the lawmaker despite a tidal wave of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz voters entering the Republican primary for the first time.
For French, this election rematch is personal.
Last month he filed suit against Democrat political operative David Sorensen who was assisting Geren with his re-election campaign.
According to the lawsuit, Sorensen used facts about the French’s young children that the Geren campaign learned from eavesdropping on a conversation between French’s wife and a supporter. They then fabricated a story accusing French of abusing his children and relayed the tale in an anonymous call to Child Protective Services on the Friday before the March 1, 2016 primary election.
The call resulted in a visit to French’s home that evening by a CPS case worker and a police officer who attempted to interview the Frenches’ children while the couple was away at a fundraiser. CPS workers revisited the home the following two days and it took months for the case to be resolved entirely. During that time, French feared for the custody and safety of his children.
“Everyone warned that lots of falsehoods, lies, and attacks would be levied our way, and I expected that against me or even my wife,” French told Texas Scorecard Radio in December. “But I never imagined that someone would try to have our kids taken away from us.”
Though he entered the race relatively recently, French says his campaign is off to an aggressive start contacting voters and spreading his message—and that the reception has been even bigger than last time.
“We’re finding that the hard work we put in last time is something that is going to pay dividends for us in this election,” said French.
A relatively safe Republican district, the March 6th Republican Primary between French and Geren will likely decide who represents House District 99 in the Texas House.
This article is part of Texas Scorecard’s “On the Trail Tour” series. To view more field reports on campaigns across the state of Texas, visit our website here.
Zach Maxwell contributed to this report.

Cary Cheshire

Cary Cheshire is the executive director of Texans for Strong Borders, a no-compromise non-profit dedicated to restoring security and sovereignty to the citizens of the Lone Star State. For more information visit