House District 52 covers a portion of Williamson County and is currently held by State Rep. James Talarico (D–Round Rock). Due to changes made during the redistricting process, HD 52 is now more favorable to a Republican candidate and Talarico is vacating the seat.
The May 24 runoff election will determine whether Caroline Harris or Patrick McGuinness wins the Republican nomination for HD 52.
A former legislative staffer for State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R–Mineola), Harris has worked in the Texas Capitol for seven years.
Based on the data currently available from Transparency USA, Harris has raised more than $150,000, with Hughes being her largest donor ($55,000). Other top donors include State Rep. Mayes Middleton (R–Wallisville) ($40,000), Republican donors Holloway Frost & Kathaleen Wall ($15,000), and the Texas Right to Life PAC ($7,000). Harris currently has less than $30,000 cash on hand.
Harris received the endorsement of Gov. Greg Abbott as well as Texas Right to Life, Texas Values Action, Texas Home School Coalition, Texas Farm Bureau, and the Texas Association of Realtors. Other endorsements include local Republican groups and local elected officials. Additionally, Harris has signed the Texans for Vaccine Choice pledge, which seeks to prohibit vaccine mandates.
An engineer and conservative activist, McGuinness has been active in local politics for years. He served in various functions for area Republican groups, including serving as a precinct chair and founder of the North Austin Republicans.
According to data from Transparency USA, McGuinness is mostly self-funded to the tune of $400,000. However, he has received smaller donations from several Republican donors as well as the Defend Texas Liberty PAC. McGuinness currently has nearly $225,000 cash on hand.
Endorsements for McGuinness include U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) as well as Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, Young Conservatives of Texas, Defend Texas Liberty PAC, and the Texas Eagle Forum. McGuinness is also recommended by grassroots organization True Texas Project, and he signed the Texans for Vaccine Choice pledge, which seeks to prohibit vaccine mandates. Notably, among the several local leaders and activists who have endorsed McGuinness are Round Rock ISD trustees Mary Bone and Danielle Weston, who have been fighting back against rampant corruption in RRISD.
Over the past several weeks, Texas Scorecard has been questioning the runoff candidates on various issues important to Republican voters as they head to the polls.
Regarding the current practice of awarding committee chairmanships to Democrats in the Republican-dominated Texas House, both Harris and McGuinness confirmed that they support ending that practice.
Both candidates also agreed to extend the current girls’ sports protections to women’s collegiate athletics as men pretending to be women continue to reap unfair advantages competing in women’s sports.
On the issue of property taxes, both candidates agreed to plans that would utilize the state surplus funds to buy down property taxes. McGuinness also seeks stricter spending limits for Texas government.
Harris and McGuinness agreed that the current border crisis constitutes an invasion and Texas must act to repel the invasion and secure the border amid the federal government’s dereliction of duty.
In regards to the public education system and protecting children, both candidates agreed to protecting parental rights in education and prohibiting discussions on gender and sexuality in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms. Both candidates also support closing the loopholes in Texas obscenity laws that allow pornographic books into children’s schools.
Corporate welfare—taxpayer-funded tax breaks and subsidies—has become a hot topic as woke corporations accept tax dollars and then fight against state priorities. Harris says Texas should prioritize cutting red tape and taxes to lift up small businesses and large corporations alike. Meanwhile, McGuinness opposes corporate welfare and wants to defund government subsidies to corporations.
Both candidates have come out against vaccine mandates from businesses and educational institutions.
The winner of the Republican runoff will face Democrat Luis Echegaray in November. Runoff Election Day is Tuesday, May 24. Early voting begins on May 16.