A moderate House Republican in rural Northeast Texas has drawn a conservative primary opponent promising to put the party’s agenda over special interests in the state legislature.

Conservative activist Dale Huls is challenging Republican State Rep. Gary VanDeaver (New Boston) in the 2024 GOP primary for House District 1, which includes Bowie, Cass, Lamar, Morris, and Red River counties.

“We need representatives who will champion our conservative agenda,” Huls said. “It’s time to put an end to Republican politicians who campaign on our conservative principles and values but take their direction from the political elite and lobbyists in Austin.”

Huls has been active in statewide grassroots politics since the 2009 Tea Party movement, and his peers recognized his work with a Conservative Leader Award in 2016.

He said Texas is headed in the wrong direction and needs to change course.

“We are witnessing an invasion at our southern border, rising inflation, increasing crime rates, the infiltration of socialism and critical race theory in our schools, and a radical LGBT agenda being forced upon us,” he said. “These challenges have impacted every family in Texas.”

Huls says the solution to these challenges is a strong conservative presence in Austin.

The stakes are too high, the ideologies too extreme to put our hopes on compromise and consensus. We must stand for our Republican conservative principles and deliver to Texas the promises that all Republicans campaign on but rarely deliver.

Huls is an Air Force veteran, former military contractor, and mechanical engineer who retired from a 20-year career at NASA. His political involvement includes volunteering to help secure the border—one of his top issues.

VanDeaver was first elected to the Texas House in 2014. Before that, he spent 33 years as school teacher and administrator.

He has a career “F” rating on the Fiscal Responsibility Index and earned a 47 for his votes on fiscal issues during the 2023 regular legislative session.

VanDeaver received $372,000 in campaign contributions during the 2022 election cycle, although he faced no Democrat opponent. His top donor was House Speaker Dade Phelan.

Huls says rural representatives are being corrupted with campaign cash from outside interests.

“We need people in office to represent the people, not Austin,” he said.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.