WEATHERFORD—Parker County was the setting for the latest forum between Republican candidates running for Senate District 30 in North Texas. 

Hosted by Parker County Conservatives and moderated by JoAnn Fleming, the forum saw three of the race’s four candidates appear: Cody Clark, Jace Yarbrough, and Dr. Carrie de Moor. 

Brent Hagenbuch—who has been challenged by the other candidates for allegedly not living in the district—did not show up to the event.

Cody Clark, a small business owner, shared his experience in law enforcement as a qualification to run.  

“I’m a police officer by trade. I worked nine years in the City of Denton police department, then became a reserve officer, became the lieutenant of that unit, and also our treasurer,” said Clark. “The reason why I’m not in law enforcement anymore, I actually take care of people with special needs. So we work on their behalf where they live in the community and also meet the medical and therapeutic needs over a decade of time.”

Attorney Jace Yarbrough discussed his legal work for conservative causes.

“By day I’m a conservative litigator. So my law partner and I bring cases that are strategically designed to defend and advance conservative principles,” said Yarbrough. “For example, we currently represent a very well-known pro-life organization here in the state suing a Texas City because this year they set aside half a million dollars to be used to transport young pregnant Texans from our state to pro-abortion states for the sole purpose of getting abortions.”

Dr. Carrie de Moor, a physician, touted her endorsement by Attorney General Ken Paxton.

“The number one reason is because I truly believe that the Lord has called me to this time and has used my life experiences to prepare me for a time such as this, which is critical for our state. The second is because I want to be a true representative and voice for the people of Senate District 30,” said de Moor. 

The issue of gambling created some distinction between candidates 

Each candidate expressed personal opposition to the expansion of casino gambling and sports betting in Texas, citing the Republican Party of Texas’ long-held opposition in the party platform. 

Clark and de Moor, however, said they would support a constitutional amendment to allow voters to decide the issue. 

“I do believe that the power belongs to the people. So yes, I do support for the option for people. I do think it has to come with a lot of education,” said de Moor, adding that ballot language must be specific.

“A lot of what we saw with some of these constitutional amendments that went up in November for that election, there’s like 12, and nobody knew what it was. And so if you put it out there, it’s almost a guarantee to get a yes. So it can’t be hidden amongst a bunch of other ones. It has to be a very specific singular option that goes back to the people.”

Clark agreed.

“Unless there’s a significant push to place that on the ballot for something to become legal here in the state of Texas by the people themselves, that’s not something I’d be interested in talking about at all. But that being the case, if we wanted to do that, and wanted to direct some of those revenues towards, you know, substance abuse issues, maybe mental health issues, I can be talked to about that. And what we’ll do is we’ll come bring it back to y’all,” said Clark. 

Yarbrough said he would not support a constitutional amendment on the issue being brought to voters.

“I’m glad that the Republican Party has taken the stance that it has against gambling, whether it did or not, I would absolutely oppose it. Why? Because it feeds on those who are, they don’t have the means to participate,” said Yarbrough.

Candidates were asked about the issue of school choice and education—an issue that has become Gov. Greg Abbott’s top priority and has been killed repeatedly in the House.

“One of the reasons I’m running in this race is that I do think we’re in a cultural decline. I think chaos is palpable, we can all feel it. One of the reasons we are where we are is because our schools have become factories for woke indoctrination,” said Yarbrough.

“I don’t think that we can talk about school choice. I don’t think that we can talk about what we’re doing trying to improve our schools until we deal with our border,” said de Moor. 

“If we’re going to fix our schools, we close the border. Period. And that is number one priority,” she added.

“Fundamentally I believe in school choice. I like many things about it. I like that a parent gets to choose the educational needs of their child, and then the money follows with that child,” said Clark. “That being said, the reality is there’s going to be strings attached to that you don’t get that public money without having the strings that go along with them.”

Candidates were also asked about their position on vaccine choice.

“I’m a doctor. And so in that I believe that patients should be making the decisions. I don’t think the government should ever tell you, you deserve to have to have any kind of medical treatment,” said de Moor. 

“I am not an anti-Vaxxer, I am for medical freedom and pro individual choice. I am vaccinated, I did not boost or do that with my children to push any further vaccines because the science has shown that we were lied to, the science has shown different things,” she added.

Clark said, that as a business owner who had to deal with federal mandates, he made sure to accommodate his employees.

“We made sure that they knew about the exemptions to those laws to make sure that they could stay employed, to make sure that they had their own individual choice and, made sure that they had those decisions in their hands, not in the government’s hands,” said Clark. 

Yarbrough stressed the importance of medical freedom.

“My position on vaccine freedom is very clear. I put my livelihood on the line to say no. Why? Because taking the vaccine would have violated my faith. And it would have risked my ability to provide for my family. Every Texan, in regards to occupation, should absolutely have that same right,” said Yarbrough.

The primary election will take place on March 5. 

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens