House District 44 is currently represented by incumbent State Rep. John Kuempel (R-Seguin), who is running for re-election against challenger Alan Schoolcraft.

Kuempel and Schoolcraft are set to square off for the seat in the May 28 runoff election.

John Kuempel

Kuempel was first elected to the Texas legislature in 2010. He is a salesman at CMC Steel and is from Seguin, Texas.

According to Transparency USA, the Kuempel campaign has nearly $730,000 in on-hand cash. It has accumulated $1,125,927 in contributions at the time of publishing. The vast majority of donations come from entities such as Texans for Lawsuit Reform, which has donated over $41,000 to his campaign, and Dade Phelan, who donated over $110,000 to this campaign.

Kuempel has been endorsed by the NRA, TLR, the Associated Republicans of Texas, and Texas Alliance for Life, among others.

Alan Schoolcraft

Schoolcraft is planning a return to the state legislature after taking a few decades off. He previously served in the Texas House from 1981 to 1993. He is also a business owner and veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

His campaign currently has nearly $64,000 in on-hand cash, as reported by Transparency USA. Schoolcraft has received over $777,000 in contributions from a combination of entities and individuals. This includes the two largest contributions of over $646,000 from Gov. Greg Abbott and another $100,000 from Cecelia and James Leininger.

Schoolcraft is endorsed by Gun Owners of America, Texas Right to Life, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Abbott, Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The Issues

Texas Scorecard asked all state legislative runoff candidates about issues critical to voters’ decisions as they head to the polls.

Regarding where candidates stood on Democrats being placed in leadership positions in a Republican-dominated House, Kuempel did not answer. However, Schoolcraft said, “I absolutely support banning the practice of awarding committee chairmanships to the minority party. Voters who elect Republican candidates do so because they want to see a conservative Republican agenda enacted. There is no good reason to put Democrats into positions of power where they can thwart those efforts.”

When asked what they are looking for in a speaker candidate, Schoolcraft cited the “Contract With Texas,” which would require the Speaker of the House to implement a dozen new rules to dispel liberal dysfunction. Schoolcraft stated:

The Contract with Texas is the basis on which I would judge a good candidate for Speaker of the House. On the other hand, my opponent John Kuempel supported and voted for Speaker Dade Phelan. Phelan appointed Democrat chairs and bowed to Democrat points of order that resulted in the killing of conservative legislation.

Schoolcraft recently told Chris Salcedo, “I would never, ever support a situation where we have a speaker that depends on getting Democrat votes in order to retain or get that kind of power.”

Kuempel did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.

Regarding what candidates believe Texas should do to protect the Second Amendment, Schoolcraft stated that under the Biden administration, the ATF has been weaponized against “mom-and-pop” firearm sales stores.

“The ATF works to shut down these local law-abiding firearm stores for simple Form 4473 errors,” he continued. “Texas should push back on and stop this practice. As a Representative in Austin, I will work to grow and protect gun rights for all Texans!”

Kuempel did not respond to the inquiry.

On ensuring election security, Schoolcraft noted that his top priorities are implementing measures to restrict illegal aliens from voting and working to empower the attorney general to prosecute election fraud in counties where George Soros-backed attorneys refuse to do so. His statement also targeted Kuempel for voting for an amendment in the past to lower the penalty for illegal voting activity.

Kuempel did not respond to the inquiry.

Texas Scorecard also asked runoff candidates whether or not they would support a school choice program as proposed by Gov. Abbott.

“I fully support a school choice program as proposed by the Governor during the last legislative session,” said Schoolcraft. “I’m in this race because my opponent rejected the rights of parents to make educational decisions for their children. Parents deserve the right to choose the school that works best to educate their children. The tax dollars belong to the parents NOT the government.”

Kuempel again did not respond, but he did vote against the school choice plan proposed last year.

On what Texas should do to work towards solving the border security crisis, Schoolcraft said, “I will prioritize real solutions like implementing E-Verify to protect Texas jobs, rapid DNA tests at the border to identify and apprehend human traffickers and coyotes, and a unit specifically dedicated, trained, and resourced to protect the border. I also commend Governor Abbott for his efforts to successfully demonstrate to liberal states and the Biden Administration the burden that even a small influx of illegal immigrants can create.”

Kuempel did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.

Another issue presented to runoff candidates was whether or not the state should ban agricultural and natural resource ownership from governments that are considered threats to national security. While Kuempel did not respond, Schoolcraft said, “Texas should absolutely ban the ownership of land and natural resources from foreign nations that are known national security threats! China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia are not our allies.”

Regarding the expansion of gambling and sports betting in Texas, Schoolcraft said, “We already have serious crime problems from our border crisis. I want to insure [sic] Texas goes down the right path to keep crime and corruption at bay. My opponent on the other hand has received $130k from gambling entities this election cycle alone.”

Kuempel did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.

Election Day

The runoff Election Day is Tuesday, May 28. Early voting begins on Monday, May 20, and concludes on Friday, May 24.

The Republican runoff winner will face Democrat challenger Eric Norman 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.