House District 61 is currently represented by incumbent State Rep. Frederick Frazier (R—Mckinney)—who is being challenged for the seat.

He will face Keresa Richardson in the runoff election later this month.

Frederick Frazier

Frazier has just finished his freshman term as a state representative and is running for re-election. He has been a police officer for over 28 years and is the first active-duty officer to serve in the legislature. However, he was recently dishonorably discharged from the Dallas Police Department after pleading guilty to one count of criminal mischief for vandalizing campaign signs.

According to Transparency USA, Frazier’s campaign has just over $250,000 in on-hand cash finances, and total contributions totaled $964,209 at the time of publishing. His top two contributors are Dade Phelan and Texans for Lawsuit Reform, who contributed $116,750 and $350,865.30, respectively.

Frazier has been endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott, TLR, as well as many other fire and police departments.

Keresa Richardson

Richardson is an entrepreneur and the CEO of the Lawton Group. Her companies provide maintenance services such as plumbing, HVAC, electrical, refrigeration, and pest control.

According to Transparency USA, Richardson’s campaign has $24,271 cash on hand and has received $305,799 in total contributions. $104,000 has come from herself, and most of her other large donations also come from various individuals financing her campaign.

Her endorsements include Attorney General Ken Paxton and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. She has also received endorsements from several organizations, including the Texas Home School Coalition, Texans for Vaccine Choice, and the Texas Right to Life.

The Issues

Over the past few weeks, Texas Scorecard asked all runoff election candidates several questions critical to voters’ decisions as they head to the polls later this month.

Regarding where each candidate stood on the practice of positions of leadership being held by Democrats and whether or not it should be banned, Richardson stated that “The Texas GOP has made banning Democrat chairs in the Texas House and Senate a legislative priority for 2023. I strongly agree with that priority and will only cast my vote for a Republican speaker who pledges to appoint Republicans to chairmanships.”

Frazier did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.

On whether or not candidates would support a “Contract With Texas” to end “liberal dysfunction” in the House, Richardson stated that she is “looking for a Speaker candidate who agrees that Republicans should have full control of the Texas House and will appoint Republicans to chair all of our committees. I am also looking for a candidate for Speaker who will be a strong advocate for our Republican Party of Texas legislative priorities and who will lead on those issues to ensure that we pass the legislation to make Texas stronger and more secure.”

Frazier did not respond to the inquiry.

Another issue presented to runoff candidates was protecting citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Richardson said that as a legislator, she would pledge to fight against unconstitutional bans on firearms and excessive regulations on gun manufacturers.

“Gun-free zones only make law-abiding people more vulnerable; Texas should end all government-mandated ‘gun-free’ zones,” she continued. “As a Texas lawmaker, I will work to protect our Second Amendment freedoms such as open carry and the ‘castle doctrine’ law. Texans must have the right to defend themselves and their property, and that will be one of my top priorities as a state legislator.” Frazier did not respond.

Frazier also did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry about what he believes should be done to ensure election security. Richardson said, “The constitution of Texas should be amended to require proof of Citizenship before any individual can be registered to vote (Proposition 12). The Texas Constitution should be amended to restore authority to the Texas Attorney General to prosecute election crimes (Proposition 10 and HJR 98). Increase the criminal penalty for the offense of illegal voting (HB 52).”

Regarding supporting a school choice program, as proposed during the last legislative session by Gov. Greg Abbott, Frazier did not respond, while Richardson said she fully supports it. She recently told Chris Salcedo, “Every child is uniquely crafted by God, and they need to be put in a place where they get the best education possible, so I am truly in support of educational freedom.”

Regarding gambling expansion and sports betting in Texas, Richardson replied that she is not in favor. “Legalized gambling brings with it a myriad of negative impacts on society,” she said. “Expansion of gambling in any form is addictive and leads to an increase in crime and family violence. Studies have found an association between problem gambling and poverty at both individual and community levels.” Frazier did not respond to the inquiry.

On whether or not the state of Texas should ban ownership of agricultural land or natural resources by governments or individuals that the federal government has designated as national security threats, Richardson stated, “Yes, Texas should absolutely ban countries or individuals who are deemed to be a national security threat from purchasing or owning our valuable land and resources.”

Frazier did not respond to the question.

Candidates were also asked about what their thoughts were on solving the ongoing influx of illegal aliens at the southern border. “In order to protect Texas citizens from the invasion at our southern border, Texas should: 1) Use law enforcement and military to seal the border and deport illegal aliens.  2) Establish a Texas Border Unit to address public safety threats by transnational criminal activity. 3) End all subsidies and public services for illegal aliens,” Richardson said. Frazier did not respond.

Election Day

The runoff election will take place on May 28. Early voting takes place from Monday, May 20, to Friday, May 24.

The winner of the runoff election for House District 61 will face Democrat Tony Adams in the November General Election.

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.