House District 97 is currently represented by State Rep. Craig Goldman (R—Fort Worth), who is not running for reelection.

Instead, he is facing businessman John O’Shea for the open U.S. House District 12 seat following the retirement of U.S. Rep. Kay Granger.

John McQueeney and Cheryl Bean will face each other in the May 28 primary runoff election for HD 97.

John McQueeney

McQueeney is a businessman from Fort Worth. He has experience in leadership roles ranging from RadioShack to McDonalds to FedEx.

According to Transparency USA, McQueeney’s campaign has nearly $68,000 in on-hand cash at the time of publishing. His campaign has received $220,235 in total contributions, mainly from individual donors contributing up to $10,000 in some cases.

He has also received endorsements from Gov. Greg Abbott, Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker, Crowley Mayor Billy Davis, and State Rep. Jared Patterson (R—Frisco).

Cheryl Bean

Cheryl Bean is also from Fort Worth. She began her career as an engineer and has spent 20 years working for defense companies. She has also spent time in Israel as a manager for one of their companies where she worked closely with Israeli special forces.

Bean’s campaign has $30,211 cash on hand according to Transparency USA. She has received just under $100,000 in contributions from a mix of both individuals and entities. Her two largest donations come from Sheryl Beard and Texans United for a Conservative Majority PAC.

Bean has been endorsed by Sen. Ted Cruz, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

The Issues

Over the last several months, Texas Scorecard sent a series of questions to all runoff candidates—asking for their opinions on certain issues important to voters as they head to the polls this week.

Regarding what they would like to see in the speaker of the Texas House, McQueeney said, “I want a speaker who is committed to passing and promoting conservative principles and will ban the practice of appointing democrats as committee chairmen. We need to make sure we are set up to secure the border, pass permanent property tax relief, put an end to the woke agenda, pass school choice, and defend life and the 2nd Amendment at all costs. We cannot allow democrats to get in our way.”

Bean stated, “I expect the next speaker to advance the cause of liberty and adhere to the proposed ‘Contract with Texas’ to improve integrity, transparency, and efficiency of the House.” The proposed “Contract With Texas” is a series of reforms to end “liberal dysfunction” in the Texas House.

Texas Scorecard also asked candidates their opinions on what should be done to protect voters’ Second Amendment rights. Both candidates strongly supported protecting the right to own firearms.

“I am a strong defender of the 2nd Amendment and will fight to defend Constitutional Carry and all of the recent 2nd Amendment victories in the Texas Legislature,” McQueeney said. “I will also look for ways to strengthen our 2nd Amendment laws, including the prohibition of gun-free zones so that all law-abiding citizens have the ability to defend themselves and their families at all times.”

Bean responded by saying while she feels blessed to live in the strongest Second Amendment state in the country, that does not stop the federal government from attempting to infringe on gun owners’ rights. “We must do everything we can to ensure state sovereignty on second amendment rights and hold the line,” Bean said. “As such,  I intend to support all current legislation pertaining to Texan’s 2nd Amendment rights to own, possess, buy/sell, and carry ALL firearms. Additionally, I commit to oppose any legislation that infringes on these rights.”

Regarding what candidates will do to combat the issue of election security, McQueeney said, “One potential area for improvement involves implementing a process and legal mandate requiring Election Administrators to verify whether individuals who have declared themselves as non-citizen residents for jury duty have participated in voting. Our legislature must ensure a robust verification process and uphold the sanctity of our electoral system at every turn.”

Bean stated, “Secure elections are not achievable as long as we continue to depend upon the electronic voting machines and corresponding software that allow electronic tampering of the results that are near impossible to trace. Furthermore, we have to enforce poll-watchers access at every step to observe the voting, collection, and tallying of votes at every stage of the process.”

Another topic presented to House District 97 runoff candidates was whether or not they would support a school choice program as proposed by Gov. Abbott during the last legislative session.

“I am a strong supporter of school choice, and I’m proud to be endorsed by Governor Greg Abbott. I support the Governor’s school choice plan because parents deserve to choose the best education for their children. As a parent of school-aged children, passing school choice and improving education is one of my top priorities,” said McQueeney.

Bean did not respond with comments, but has campaigned for educational freedom.

Both candidates gave lengthy responses when prompted by Texas Scorecard to give their thoughts about what should be done to protect Texas’ southern border and curb the influx of illegal aliens.

“The combination of the insurgent threat, the fentanyl deaths, the human trafficking, and the economic impact of the millions of illegal immigrants combine to make the border crisis the most significant threat facing America today,” Bean said. “We must stop the infiltration through all means available including physical barriers, use of all manpower forces at the governor’s disposal, arrest and deportation of illegals already on American soil, and the removal of all incentives to discourage further immigration.”

McQueeney said “First, we must elect President Trump and complete the wall. Next, we must continue to provide additional technology and manpower along the border and we must continue to pass and enforce laws like Senate Bill 4 which allows Texas law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants. We must also continue to give our Judges greater authority to deport illegal aliens. A truly secure border is the ultimate goal. We should not entertain any conversation about reforming our system until the border is 100% closed.”

On the issue of whether or not Texas should ban land and agricultural ownership by governments, entities, or individuals deemed by the federal government to be national security threats, Bean said “I strongly believe Texas should ban ownership of agricultural land and natural resources such as mineral interests and timber from citizens, companies, or governmental entities designated by the federal government as threats to national security.”

McQueeney stated, “I absolutely support banning the sale of Texas land to communists and foreigners. This is a national security issue and a no-brainer, and I’d be glad to author and carry that bill next session.”

Regarding the expansion of gambling and sports betting in Texas, Bean said “Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has already stated he will not pass gambling in the senate, so wasting time and taxpayer dollars on the issue is a moot point, especially when we have border issues, property taxes, and school choice on the table.”

McQueeney did not respond with comments.

Another question Texas Scorecard posed to runoff candidates was what they believe should be done about Democrats holding leadership positions in a Republican-controlled House.

“It’s become crystal clear that we can no longer reward democrats with chairmanships,” answered McQueeney. “There are too many critical issues that deserve conservative solutions and we can’t afford to allow Democrats to block our agenda or water down legislation. Texas is a conservative state and we need conservatives in charge. That’s what the voters expect and deserve.”

Bean said “As a true conservative, I have always been against Democrat Chairs when the Republicans have the majority in the House. Having a significant amount of Dem chairs in a Rep house evolved after the speaker gained the sole power to appoint all committee chairs. Rep. speaker candidates began to offer committee chairs in exchange for a large block of Dem votes for speakership.”

“The obvious result has been that conservative values have become compromised with Rep initiatives frequently not even making it to the floor for a vote,” she continued.

Election Day

McQueeney and Bean are set to square off for House District 97 at the May 28 primary runoff election. Early voting began today and ends Friday, May 20.

The Republican primary runoff election winner will face a Democrat challenger in the November general election. The embattled Democrat will be either Diane Symons or Carlos Walker, who face each other in a Democratic primary runoff as well.

Will Biagini

Will was born in Louisiana and raised in a military family. He currently serves as a journalist with Texas Scorecard. Previously, he was a senior correspondent for Campus Reform.