Three GOP primary candidates competing for the 401st District Court in Collin County fielded questions Monday night—three weeks before the start of early voting—hoping to win voters’ support at a forum hosted by the Republican Club at Heritage Ranch.
Local attorneys Brook Fulks, George Flint, and Sarah Fox are running for the seat left open by retiring Judge Mark Rusch, who has presided over the court since it was created in 2000.
Candidates shared their qualifications and experience, as well as how their worldviews would affect their decisions on the bench.
Fulks said she brings a life experience as well as a practice experience that make her qualified for the general jurisdiction court, which hears civil, family, and criminal cases. She has seven years’ experience practicing family law and mediation in Collin County. The mother of three also serves on the county’s Child Protective Services Board, volunteers with Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, and is the past president of Golden Corridor Republican Women.
“I understand the people that are in front of me,” she said. “I understand that the most important job of a judge is to be impartial and to apply the rule of law as it is written.”
“Our Constitution is not a living document,” she added. As a constitutional conservative and a Christian, she said she would treat everybody equally and also have compassion and empathy. Fulks’ endorsements include Texas Right to Life, McKinney and Richardson police associations, and five local mayors.
Flint said his 39 years of broad trial experience practicing civil and business law, as well as his years of life experience, best qualify him for the position. As past chairman of the Collin County Republican Party, he added, people have seen him in action in stressful situations and know he has the right temperament for the job.
“We all have biases,” he added. “Part of our judicial job is recognizing our own biases and setting them aside.”
Flint has wide grassroots support and is endorsed by a majority of GOP precinct chairs across the county as well as conservative organizations Texas Right to Life, Collin County Conservative Republicans, and Texans for Courageous Courts (a project of Empower Texans), among others.
Fox said her nearly 10 years of experience as a criminal attorney make her uniquely qualified for this bench, which has a predominantly criminal caseload.
“It’s important to have someone who has the requisite experience and legal knowledge to be able to preside over those cases,” she said.
Fox said she has more true trial experience and more courtroom experience. She started as a prosecutor for District Attorney Greg Willis before switching to criminal defense and is board certified in criminal law, a credential held by less than 3 percent of Texas attorneys.
She said her conservative tendency to be tough on crime is tempered with Christian compassion.
When asked about strategies to defeat the Democrat opponent in November, Fulks noted Democrats are running in seven of the nine district judge races on the 2020 ballot. “They are here in our county, fighting to get into our elected positions, and we are not going to let them,” she said.
“I will not be out-worked,” Fox said. “I’m a single mother with a full-time law practice. I will run on my experience—not years, but the right kind of experience.”
“We have to do it together,” Flint added. “That’s how we’ll win—running as a slate, teaching voters the value of conservative Republican judges.”
Monday’s event also included Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3 candidates Gina Parker and incumbent Bert Richardson. Texans for Courageous Courts has endorsed Parker.
Last week the club vetted candidates for Collin County Commissioner Precinct 3; they are hosting another forum on February 17.
Early voting in the March 3 primary starts on February 18. The deadline to register to vote in the primary is February 3. Additional voting information is available on the Collin County Elections website at collincountytx.gov/elections.