House District 58 is currently represented by incumbent State Rep. DeWayne Burns (R—Cleburne), who is running for re-election against challenger Helen Kerwin.

Burns and Kerwin will face off for the seat at the May 28 runoff election.

DeWayne Burns

Burns was first elected to the Texas legislature in 2014. He is a property and business investment manager who previously served as Cleburne ISD Board of Trustees vice president and a Johnson County Economic Development Commission member.

According to Transparency USA, the Burns campaign has just over $300,000 in available cash. His campaign received a total of $1,253,141 in contributions at the time of publishing—with the majority coming from entities such as House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) and Texans for Lawsuit Reform.

Phelan contributed precisely $100,000 more than TLR, resulting in donations of $146,350 and $46,350, respectively.

Burns has received notable endorsements from organizations like the Texas House Republicans Caucus PAC, the Texas Farm Bureau AGFund, the Texas Alliance for Life, and TREPAC.

Helen Kerwin

Kerwin is a small business owner, entrepreneur, former mayor of Glen Rose, and was the first Republican Somervell County commissioner.

Kerwin’s campaign has $161,884 cash on hand, according to Transparency USA. It has received $888,442 in contributions at the time of publishing. Contributions to her campaign come from a mix of both entities and individuals. Gov. Greg Abbott is the single biggest contributor—having provided over $430,000 in funding.

Her endorsements include former President Donald Trump, Gov. Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Sen. Ted Cruz. She has also received endorsements from family-oriented organizations such as the Family Empowerment Coalition, Texas Home School Coalition, and the Young Conservatives of Texas.

The Issues

Texas Scorecard asked all runoff candidates a series of questions over the past few weeks about issues important to voters as they head to the polls.

On whether or not the practice of Democrats holding positions of leadership in a Republican-led House should be banned, neither candidate gave a response.

Regarding the proposed “Contract With Texas” to “improve the integrity, transparency, and efficiency of the House,” Kerwin said, “I want to see a Speaker candidate who takes the Contract with Texas seriously and will pledge, in writing, to passing reforms that significantly reduce the power of the Speaker.”  Burns did not respond to the inquiry.

Texas Scorecard also asked runoff candidates what they believe the state should do to protect its citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Kerwin responded with support for the passing of a Red Flag Law ban, refusing universal gun registration by the Biden administration, and allowing anyone 18 years old or older the right to Constitutionally carry. Burns did not respond.

Burns also did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s question of what candidates believe should be done to ensure that elections in Texas are secure. Kerwin, on the other hand, highlighted the importance of ensuring voting is only accessible to citizens.

“We also need to ensure those committing voter fraud are rigorously prosecuted by restoring the option to prosecute these crimes under the office of the State Attorney General – especially when we have liberal, Soros-elected District Attorneys who refuse to accept these cases,” Kerwin said.

Regarding the candidates’ support for a school choice program as proposed by Gov. Abbott during the last legislative session, Kerwin stated “75% of Republican primary voters in House District 58 supported Proposition 11 to enact school choice in Texas. I’m proud to be standing with the 75% of Republicans in our district who agree it’s time we empower parents with the best options possible for their child’s education.”

“Families should be able to choose from public, private, charter, and homeschooling to provide the greatest educational opportunities for their children,” she concluded. Burns did not respond to the inquiry but did vote against the school choice proposal last year.

The expansion of gambling and sports betting in the state was another topic presented to runoff candidates by Texas Scorecard. Kerwin said, “I will not support the expansion of gambling in Texas.” Burns did not respond to the inquiry.

Regarding whether or not Texas should ban ownership of agricultural land and natural resources by governments, entities, or individuals deemed national security threats by the federal government, Kerwin said that Texas is a target for foreign hostile nations to infiltrate and undermine.

“To prevent America’s economic engine from being subverted by nations and individuals who wish to do us harm, a very smart solution is to ban the purchase of land or critical natural resources by nations designated as foreign adversaries,” she said. “It is truly shocking this common sense national security measure was not passed in the last state legislative session, but that failure further serves as a reason why we must elect new, unwavering conservative leaders to better serve Texas.” Burns did not respond.

Texas Scorecard also asked candidates to present solutions to the ongoing border crisis. While Burns did not give a response, Kerwin stated, “I am honored to have been endorsed by the National Border Patrol Union for my unwavering commitment to fight Biden’s border disaster and stop the mass illegal immigration.”

“We not only need to continue building border walls and barriers, but we need to pass further legislation like the Texas Border Protection Unit, which was killed last year by Speaker Dade Phelan and his Democrat Parliamentarian,” she continued. “The Texas Border Protection Unit would create an entirely new unit to identify, apprehend, and deport illegal immigrants while taking pressure off our overused Texas National Guard.”

Election Day

Burns and Kerwin will face off at the May 28 runoff election. Early voting begins Monday, May 20, and ends Friday, May 24.

There is no Democrat challenger for House District 58.

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.