Texans look to endorsements for additional guidance when selecting their candidate of choice. Headed into a runoff we have an interesting group of endorsers to track – candidates who failed to make the runoff.
This week we checked in with former candidates in HD 68, a large district that covers parts of the panhandle and ranges east of Lubbock all the way to north of Denton.
Trent McKnight barely missed the victory cutoff in the primary with 49.03% of the vote. Drew Springer came in second with 34.47%; the other two candidates – David Isbell and Paul Braswell – took a combined 16.48%.
According to the Amarillo Globe-News, Isbell was initially leaning toward endorsing McKnight, but before making his decision he first met with each candidate. Isbell pressed both on abortion and gay rights.
“I am anti-abortion, pro-life all the way,” said Isbell. “There is no reason for abortion.” On gay rights Isbell is “against gay marriage.”
Isbell met with Drew Springer first and remarked that “there was nothing negative” about his answers. “I found in my discussion with Drew that he and I are on the same plane with these issues.”
But when he met with McKnight, things were quite different. On general questions of how McKnight would run his office, interact with constituents, as well as what some of his political aspirations were, Isbell said, “I was uncomfortable with some of his answers. I didn’t feel like they were rationed out and reasonable”. While Isbell had a general uneasiness from these preliminary questions, it was McKnight’s answers on abortion and gay marriage that sealed the deal.
Isbell is strictly against all abortion, McKnight is not. Isbell believes that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman. McKnight doesn’t want the government to take a stance.
As a result of McKnight’s stances on these issues, David Isbell threw his support behind Drew Springer. “I cannot support anyone that I am not on the same page with on those issues.”
Paul Braswell focused on other issues when making his decision. He noticed that Springer had raised much of his campaign funds in district, whereas a majority of McKnight’s came from his parents ($240,000 out of $300,000). “When you take somebody who has spent over 300k getting to a runoff,” Braswell said, “and most of it he borrowed from mommy and daddy – that concerns me. That concerns me a lot.”
Braswell also looked towards consistency, noticing that Springer has stuck to his word, but regarding McKnight he “[sees] a young man who is saying one thing and doing something else.” “He says he’s a conservative Republican,” says Braswell, but “when he goes to speak with teachers he says we need more revenue. You don’t get revenue without taxes, do you?”
We reached out to McKnight multiple times over a 5-day period for comment, but he didn’t respond.
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