With no Democratic candidate in the running, the winner in the Republican primary runoff for Texas House District 60 will be the next state representative for a geographically large district east of Abilene.
In the four-person Republican primary on March 3, only 714 votes separated the top two finishers: Jon Francis of Cisco (15,430 votes, or 45.91%), and Glenn Rogers of Graford (14,716, or 43.78%).
The other two opponents were Kellye Sorelle of Granbury (2,219 votes, or 6.6%) and Christopher Perricone of Mineral Wells (1,247 votes, or 3.71%).
HD 60 encompasses Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Eastland, Hood, Palo Pinto, Shackelford and Stephens counties. Towns in the district include Albany, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Clyde, Coleman, Eastland, Granbury and Mineral Wells.
Current state Rep. Mike Lang was elected in 2016 and declined to run for a second term to pursue instead a seat on the Hood County Commissioners Court.
Francis serves as director of finance for Wilks Development, and Rogers is a veterinarian and rancher.
Lang, Sorelle and Perricone have endorsed Francis, as well as Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and others, according to the Francis campaign website.
Former Gov. Rick Perry has endorsed Rogers, along with Congressman Mike Conaway, the sheriff in each of House District 60’s eight counties and others, according to the Rogers campaign website.
Election day is July 14, with early voting starting Monday and running until July 10.
Campaigning during coronavirus pandemic
To get their message out and encourage voter turnout, the candidates have had to rely primarily on phone calls because many social gatherings were cancelled when the coronavirus affected the area shortly after the March 3 primary.
“We have tried our best to respect social distancing during the campaign, so we have focused on things like calling voters, sending letters and producing radio ads,” Rogers said in an email.
Francis has made thousands of calls, and “our campaign made over 50,000 of them into the district,” said Francis campaign manager Destin Sensky in an email.
More recently, both candidates and their supporters have been knocking on doors to visit with voters.
Following are the campaigns’ answers to two Reporter-News questions. In an email, Sensky spoke on behalf of Francis.
What one major issue separates you from your opponent?
FRANCIS: The major issue separating Jon from Glenn Rogers is who they are both beholden to. Jon, on day one of his campaign, pledged to not take even a penny from lobbyists, PACs or special interests. He is beholden only to the voters of this rural, conservative district.
Glenn Rogers, on the other hand, has received more than half of his contributions in the primary from Austin lobbyists and PACs, many of whom support raising property taxes and, in at least one instance (TEXPAC), abortion. These are not the values of the voters in this district. We’ve seen and heard that time and again on the campaign trail over the phone, at the door and at the many forums Jon has participated in.
ROGERS: I believe my knowledge and roots in this district set me apart from my opponent. Since I declared my intent to run for the House District 60 seat last summer, I have traveled to all eight counties and nearly every community within those counties. I have met with almost every superintendent, most mayors, as well as every hospital CEO, county judge and sheriff in the district. I am proud to be endorsed by the vast majority of these dedicated public servants and business leaders.
I have spent the time to create relationships with business and community leaders, as well as citizens in every community. When I am elected, I intend to represent the entire district – not just a few billionaires and special-interest groups – and I will seek to reach out to people across the district for input and guidance.
What would be your first legislative priority if elected?
FRANCIS: Jon’s priorities are the Legislative Priorities of the Republican Party of Texas. Jon will always let you know that being pro-life, abolishing abortion and doing everything we can to advance pro-life legislation along the way is chiefly among them. Constitutional carry has been a priority for the delegates of the RPT for six years now. Glenn Rogers has explicitly came out in opposition to this, and the ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying, which are among the five priorities Republicans hold. Jon is committed to all five. The final two, for reference, are actually lowering property taxes and protecting religious liberty.
ROGERS: When elected, my first priority will be to protect the interests of House District 60 and rural Texas. This includes keeping taxes low, defending the Second Amendment, fighting for the unborn, supporting our rural schools and ensuring we have access to rural healthcare.
Texas House District 60 Republican Primary early voting locations
► Brown County: Early Voting Center, 613 N. Fisk St., Suite 200, Brownwood
► Callahan County: Baird Activity Center, 308 Walnut St., Baird
► Coleman County: Coleman County Courthouse, 100 W. Liveoak St., Coleman
► Eastland County: Eastland County Courthouse, 100 W. Main St., Eastland
► Hood County: Early Voting Annex I Meeting Room, 1410 W. Pearl St., Granbury
► Palo Pinto County: Palo Pinto County ISD Cafeteria, 821 Oak St., Palo Pinto, and Mineral Wells High School Cafeteria, 3801 Ram Blvd., Mineral Wells
► Shackelford County: Shackelford County Courthouse, 225 S. Main St. Albany
► Stephens County: Stephens County Courthouse, 200 W. Walker St., Breckenridge
Editor’s Note: Roger’s statement “I have traveled to all eight counties and nearly every community within those counties” has been edited to the correct number of counties.
Laura Gutschke is a general assignment reporter and food columnist and manages online content for the Reporter-News. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.
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