As with each of the runoff elections for the Texas House, HD 64 in Denton County features a choice between a grassroots conservative and an establishment candidate. In this arena, that fight is between small businessmen Read King and veterinarian Lynn Stucky, two candidates with governing ideologies as opposite as their base of support.
Like many other establishment politicians in the Texas House, State Rep. Myra Crownover (R-Denton) declined to take her chances with voters by retiring. Many local conservatives point to a strong performance in 2014 by King, who challenged Crownover in the primary and netted 45% of the vote.
This year, King also fell in second place in the Republican primary but garnered enough of the vote to proceed to the May 24th runoff election. King said that falling short of first place wouldn’t stop him, but rather serve as encouragement to keep knocking on doors and talking to voters.
“I’ve been doing this for three years, I can do it for another three months,” said King in a March 1st interview with the Denton Record-Chronicle.
King is supported by conservative grassroots organizations across the state including Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Right to Life, Young Conservatives of Texas, and others. He also carries the support of strong conservative lawmakers like State Reps. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) and Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler).
Meanwhile, King’s opponent serves as a well-compensated pet euthanizer for the City of Sanger, while promising to wage war on the constitutional rights of Texans.
Despite taking money from a multitude of Austin lobbyists and PACs himself, Stucky’s website claims that he will “stand up to the powerful dark money interests and outside PACs and lobbyists who have hijacked our political system.” His comment suggests certain PAC’s and organizations are problematic, unless they donate to his campaign.
What Stucky refers to as “dark money” is the free political speech of citizens. The use of such propagandist terminology places him firmly in the camp of liberal establishment lawmakers like State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana).
Last session, Cook hijacked the ethics reform package by Gov. Greg Abbott and State Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano) that had unanimously passed in the Senate (31-0), morphing it into a vehicle to restrict “dark money” and compel private, non-profit organizations to reveal their donors—an effort Abbott said in 2015 were “unconstitutional”, “reprehensible,” and “shameful.”
Abbott isn’t the only opposing voice. Indeed, Stucky’s position places him against conservative leaders like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who called the effort “pernicious,” and Rick Perry, who vetoed similar language during his time as governor.
Taylor, who authored the unadulterated version of ethics reform, publicly rebuked House members who share Stucky’s view, pointing out their position places them squarely on the side of Hillary Clinton.
“Some in the House apparently don’t think elected officials are the problem and instead muddled the [ethics] bill with a litany of bizarre measures that point the finger at everyone besides themselves, including a page from Hillary Clinton’s playbook to launch an assault on the First Amendment.”
As is the case with his professional record, Stucky’s political posturing raises major concerns for Denton County residents and Texans statewide. Meanwhile, King provides a consensus conservative choice for local voters. Although early voting is already underway, voters have until Tuesday, May 24th, to weigh in on the race.