In Texas’ House District 2, a northeastern district which includes the counties of Hopkins, Hunt, and Van Zandt, a battle is shaping up as two conservatives take on State Rep. Dan Flynn (R–Van) in one of the most-watched Texas legislative races of the cycle.
First elected in 2003, Flynn was once one of the Texas House’s most conservative lawmakers and one of the few who fought against falling in line behind House Speaker Joe Straus after his successful Democrat-led coup against Republican Speaker Tom Craddick.
But after conservatives were defeated, Flynn sold out and became a supplicant for the very regime he’d fought against—serving as lead attack dog against UT Regent Wallace Hall, a whistleblower who uncovered egregious examples of favoritism and corruption in the university admission process, by which elected officials would secure admission to the university for their own children or those of wealthy donors.
A “Taxpayer Champion” in 2009 and 2011, Flynn’s rating on the Fiscal Responsibility Index declined first to a “B,” then a “C.” And for the last two legislative sessions, Flynn has earned an “F” for his dismal record of voting against taxpayers and supporting bloated budgets and new taxes.
When Republican Priority of Texas legislation to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying—prohibiting counties, cities, school districts, and other local entities from spending taxpayer dollars for the purpose of lobbying the state legislature—reached the floor of the Texas House, Flynn voted to water down the bill before ultimately voting against the bill itself.
Flynn’s lack of fiscal responsibility should come as no surprise to those that have paged through his campaign finance reports. A 2017 article by The Texas Monitor labeled Flynn as one of the biggest spenders in the Texas House, shelling out six-figure amounts from his campaign fund to travel to conferences all over the world, as well as spending nearly $200,000 on Austin living expenses and $30,000 on furniture.
Flynn also stood by disgraced Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen after an audio recording was released, revealing he attempted to offer media credentials to Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan in exchange for the political targeting of certain Republican House members.
While Bonnen was forced to announce he would not seek re-election in October of last year, it hasn’t stopped him from handing over $15,000 in cash to Flynn’s campaign earlier this year.
Luckily for conservatives, however, there is the opportunity to make a choice this March.
Flynn’s repeated betrayal of the conservatives who first elected him to office has earned him not just one, but two challengers in the upcoming Republican primary election.
Dwayne “Doc” Collins, of Edom, is a veterinarian and conservative activist who has helped start five tea party organizations in East Texas. He has also served as a co-chair of the Mighty Texas Strike Force. Collins entered the race in November.
Also in the ring is Bryan Slaton, a conservative small businessman from Royse City, who has challenged Flynn in the last two primary elections, falling short by less than 800 votes in 2018. Slaton filed for the office on December 9, the last day of the filing deadline.
Should the two challengers’ combined support cause Flynn to receive less than 50 percent of the vote, the race will head into a runoff, a situation that has proved perilous for incumbent lawmakers.
The Republican primary election will take place on March 3, 2020.