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Conservative activist Danny Ward is crisscrossing East Texas campaigning against an incumbent lawmaker he alleges doesn’t represent the conservative values of the three-county district.
A Marine Corps veteran, former rodeo cowboy, rancher, and telecommunications field technician, Ward says incumbent State Rep. Travis Clardy (R—Nacodoches) has disappointed conservatives and taxpayers ever since he was elected to the Texas House.
“He says that he’s a conservative, but he’s not,” said Ward. “I’ve got nothing against the guy, but it’s clear from his voting record that he doesn’t believe in conservatism the way that the voters and I do.”
As part of our “On the Trail Tour,” Texas Scorecard spent some time talking to activists in House District 11 and attending the Cherokee County candidate forum in Jacksonville. Though Ward attended and spoke, Clardy chose not to attend the meeting and answer questions from his constituents.
That decision wasn’t exactly a surprise to any of the conservative voters who did attend the meeting on Monday—many were the same activists who chose to censure him at a recent Cherokee County GOP meeting.
“Travis Clardy knows that we’ve wised up to his record,” said one attendee. “He knows there’s no point in trying to come here and fool us.”
Speaking before the bevy of congressional candidates seeking to running for the open seat vacated by US Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R—TX), Ward answered the ten questions asked of him directly and expediently.
Thanks to Tammy Brogdon, a local public school teacher and precinct chair candidate, a full livestream of Ward’s remarks and those of the CD 5 candidates is available here.
When asked if he supported  abolishing property taxes, a legislative priority of the Republican Party of Texas, Ward answered in the affirmative.
“You don’t own your own property when you pay rent to the government,” he said.
And asked what he thought about the state’s current level of involvement in public education, Ward said he’d look to minimize governmental interference.
“We need to be doing what we can to get the government out of education…I’ll do everything I can to get rid of the STAAR tests each year,” he answered.
All in all, Ward won the crowd by a considerable margin, and his opposition to recently-censured House Speaker Joe Straus and signature of the Texas GOP’s speaker selection commitment pledge cemented him as grassroots conservatives’ candidate of choice.
But the crowd only consisted of about 40 actual voters, and he has an uphill battle ahead of him in order to win the seat.
Despite Clardy’s horrible record—a record that earned him a 40 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index—he still enjoys a tremendous cash advantage over Ward with more than $300,000 cash on hand according to his campaign finance reports as reviewed by Transparency Texas.
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.

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