DALLAS, Texas—Voters across North Dallas appear to be moving towards retiring incumbent State Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) in the Republican primary on March 6th.
As part of our “On the Trail Tour,” Texas Scorecard spent some time in House District 114 interviewing Villalba’s opponent, Dallas entrepreneur Lisa Luby Ryan, and talking to engaged activists about the upcoming Republican Primary election on March 6th and the issues most important to voters.
Ryan says she’s been impressed by the amount of support she’s received since launching her campaign.
“The voters I’ve talked to want a conservative representing them in Austin, and they know they haven’t been getting one in Jason Villalba,” said Ryan. “I will be that conservative representative. I will be the Reagan Republican that [Jason Villalba] claims to be.”
Despite repeatedly claiming to be a “Reagan Republican,” Villalba’s record hasn’t been anywhere close. He has a lifetime “F” on the Fiscal Responsibility Index and, rather than earn the respect of colleagues in his own party and those across the aisle, Villalba regularly earns their ridicule.
Known for his late-night Twitter tirades against conservative activists, introducing and then withdrawing his own legislation, otherwise beclowning himself in public, Villalba’s built a reputation as someone who gives virtually every Texan a reason to oppose him. And in 2017, grassroots Texans took special note of Villalba’s record setting bluster and buffoonery and voted the oafish lawmaker as one of the worst members of the Texas Legislature.
Perhaps it’s for that reason that Ryan is receiving so much donor support in the district.
Voters interviewed by Texas Scorecard at the Dallas County Eagle Forum seemed to be keenly aware of their current lawmaker’s reputation—and that of his opponent.
“He’s a joke, she’s a job creator. I think we know who we’re voting for,” said one conservative activist.
Though she entered the race relatively late, Ryan got off to a fast start fundraising and brought in more than $270,000 on her December 31 campaign finance report. And equally as impressive, Ryan revealed the contributions came from 270 individual donors, a metric that indicates strong grassroots support behind her campaign.
“As our fundraising report shows, we are in this race to win. Since my November 20th announcement it has been a whirlwind of fundraising, door knocking, and meeting voters across the district,” said Ryan in a press release following her donor report. “It is abundantly clear that voters are ready for a change.”
Ryan’s impressive numbers eclipse Villalba’s by a considerable margin. On his own report the incumbent reported raising more than $150,000 but his expenses dropped his cash on hand down to just over $60,000.
Such figures are nowhere near sufficient for Villalba to be re-elected, especially considering the mass exodus from his supporter list over the past few months. Though Ryan has a long road ahead of her and no election can be taken for granted, she definitely seems on track to perform well in the coming primary.
This article is part of Texas Scorecard’s “On the Trail Tour” series. To view more field reports on campaigns across the state of Texas, visit our website here.
Zach Maxwell contributed to this report.

Cary Cheshire

Cary Cheshire is the Vice President of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. A 6th Generation Texan, Cary attended Texas A&M University was active in a number of conservative causes including Ted Cruz's Senate campaign. He has also worked on campaigns to elect conservatives to Congress and the Texas Legislature. Cary enjoys college football, genealogy research, and the occasional craft beer.

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