One of just 11 Republican primary challenges to an incumbent state lawmaker this year is taking place in North Texas between two candidates both claiming to be the most conservative.

First-term State Rep. Jared Patterson of Frisco is facing challenger James Trombley in the March 3 Republican primary for Texas House District 106 in eastern Denton County.

Patterson is the only Republican state representative in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to draw a primary challenger, though he scored higher on the 2019 Fiscal Responsibility Index than most of his GOP colleagues, earning a rating of 85.

He won the solidly Republican district in November 2018 with 58 percent of the vote, after defeating a primary opponent for the open seat. He ran as a champion of fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, and life.

During the 86th Legislative Session, Patterson says he helped pass a number of “red meat” bills and touts his ranking as the “eighth most conservative” House member based on an analysis of lawmakers’ 2019 voting records.

Yet, not all of Patterson’s conservative constituents or supporters are satisfied.

Many say they are disappointed Patterson failed to take a stronger lead on conservative priorities during the “purple” legislative session and feel he was too closely allied with disgraced House Speaker Dennis Bonnen.

“Witnessing Jared’s fear of the establishment had nearly convinced me to withdraw my support for his re-election. But the Bonnen corruption scandal was the final straw for me,” said Parker County conservative leader Mike Olcott, who lives outside the district but donated to Patterson in 2018. “Unfortunately, Jared Patterson is not only the self-described ‘Democrats’ favorite freshman,’ but he’s also still on the ‘good list’ for the corrupt speaker.”

Several grassroots activists are supporting challenger Trombley, a financial advisor and Marine Corps veteran who says he believes in limited government, low taxes, protecting the unborn, and promoting economic liberty.

“James will not only vote the ‘right’ way but will fight for the core values that made Texas and America great,” say Toni and Tom Fabry, conservative leaders in Frisco who backed Patterson in 2018 but now endorse Trombley:

James’ policy positions on property taxes, economic development, and budget discipline cut through the incrementalism you hear from most politicians. These are positions that clearly resonate with conservative voters. James Trombley will fight for the values and principles we believe in. He has earned our confidence and our vote for HD 106.

Trombley is also endorsed by the Denton County Conservative Coalition and Grassroots America – We the People.

Patterson is endorsed by State Sen. Pat Fallon (R–Prosper), who previously held the HD 106 seat, Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Young Conservatives of Texas, Texas Values Action, Texas Realtors Association, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, and the National Rifle Association.

The latest campaign finance reports show Patterson has received $180,000 in donations this election season—including $15,000 from Bonnen’s political action committee Texas Leads and $2,500 from Bonnen accomplice State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock).

Trombley has reported raising $45,000 in campaign donations.

Whoever wins the GOP nomination will likely take the seat in November, though the lone Democrat primary candidate, Jennifer Skidonenko, will also be on the ballot.

In Denton County’s other contested Republican primary for a state House seat, Nancy Kline and Kronda Thimesch are competing to be the GOP nominee for House District 65. The winner will face incumbent Democrat State Rep. Michelle Beckley of Carrollton in November. Beckley won the historically Republican district in 2018 by a 51-49 percent margin.

Republican State Reps. Tan Parker (Flower Mound) and Lynn Stucky (Denton) are unopposed in the primary.

Early voting in the March 3 primary runs February 18-28.

Texans for Fiscal Responsibility has not issued an endorsement in this race.

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.