3 Republicans are vying to replace Larry Gonzales in Texas House race


District 52 encompasses most of Round Rock, a part of Georgetown and extends east to Hutto and Taylor.

Cynthia Flores has raised the most money and has received the endorsement of Gov. Greg Abbott.

Chris Ward, who has raised the second-highest amount of money, said he wants to address high property taxes.

If money raised and endorsements are decisive factors in a political race, Cynthia Flores, a Round Rock social services case manager, would easily win the March 6 Republican primary for Texas House District 52.

The district — currently held by Republican state Rep. Larry Gonzales, who isn’t running for re-election — encompasses most of Round Rock, some of Georgetown and extends east to Hutto and Taylor.

Flores had raised $92,000 by Jan. 25 and had the endorsements of Gov. Greg Abbott, Gonzales and Texas Alliance for Life, among others.

Careful with how she addresses certain issues that have divided the GOP, Flores wouldn’t comment to the American-Statesman on the performance of outgoing Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who the Texas State Republican Executive Committee has censured for obstructing the party’s conservative agenda. Straus and his lieutenants blocked bills last year restricting bathroom use by transgender people.

“I’m not going to get into what I thought about him,” Flores said of Straus. “I don’t think that does any good. I think we need to look forward.”

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: Our Lone Star Politics page brings Capitol news to your Facebook feed

She instead said she is ardently against elective abortions and wants to further boost border security to prevent human trafficking. Flores said she supports requiring voters to approve property tax increases of 4 percent or more — currently, elections are triggered at 8 percent — and bring down property taxes in part through addressing the inefficient way school districts are funded. She said she supports increasing the state’s share of public school funding so that local property taxpayers aren’t shouldering most of the burden.

Chris Ward, a clinical trial auditor, who is second in fundraising with $17,000 in contributions, said he’s not a fan of Straus or Gonzales. Straus isn’t conservative enough and Gonzales didn’t do enough to address high property taxes, he said.

Ward said he also wants to fix school financing to help curb property tax increases. To bring costs down for schools, he wants to consider consolidating services and positions at small school districts, ensure that school districts are granting construction projects to lowest bidders when possible and eliminate the recapture system under which school districts with high property wealth give some of their revenue back to the state to be redistributed to property-poor school districts.

READ: In Austin-area House race, candidates’ party loyalties at question

The Round Rock school district will send back $8.3 million in recapture money in 2018, according to an estimate from the Texas Education Agency.

“I’m not going to be type of person to say that all things can’t be on the table,” Ward said of his approach to fixing school finance.

Ward said if he’s elected, he will donate the $14,400 salary he would make over his two-year term as state representative to nonprofits in the district, including those that help victims of domestic violence.

The third Republican candidate, religious nonprofit president Jeremy Story, has raised $12,000. He did not respond to requests for an interview.

The Republican primary winner will face Democrat James Talarico, head of an education nonprofit, in the November election. Talarico has raised $75,000. Early voting for the primaries ends Friday.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Donation pays for adoptions fees at Williamson County shelter
Donation pays for adoptions fees at Williamson County shelter

For the first time, all pets will be available without an adoption fee for a 10-day period through July 4 at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter in Georgetown. A group called Best Friends Animal Society has raised $250,000 from donors to pay for the adoption fees at more than 270 rescue groups across the country, said Connie Odom, a spokeswoman...
FUGITIVE FLAMINGO: Bird famous for escaping Kansas zoo spotted in Texas
FUGITIVE FLAMINGO: Bird famous for escaping Kansas zoo spotted in Texas

The notorious No. 492, an African flamingo who escaped from a Kansas zoo in 2005, was spotted on Texas’ Coastal Bend earlier this year,Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials said. No. 492 was enjoying a leisurely day in the sun near Lavaca Bay, outside Victoria in South Texas, on May 23 when a parks department intern snapped a photo of...
Community news: Join discussion Wednesday on 5G wireless technology

TRAVIS COUNTY DOWNTOWN AUSTIN Join talk on 5G technology Join the Austin Tech Alliance and Texas 5G Alliance for a panel discussion on 5G wireless technology and Austin’s connected future. The event will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Google Fiber Space, 201 Colorado St. The term 5G stands for fifth generation wireless broadband...
‘Great Divide’ or ‘Better Together’? These kids have a new name for Blue Bell’s signature flavor
‘Great Divide’ or ‘Better Together’? These kids have a new name for Blue Bell’s signature flavor

A group of young Louisiana children agree on a couple of things: Blue Bell’s cookies and cream ice cream is the “best on the planet” and the name for the creamery’s half-chocolate, half-vanilla flavor “The Great Divide” might give people the wrong idea. “We began to talk about the name and we think some...
Austin mayor proclaims June 23 ‘Supernatural’ Day; Jared Padalecki ‘speechless’
Austin mayor proclaims June 23 ‘Supernatural’ Day; Jared Padalecki ‘speechless’

You know those Winchester boys love Austin. The feeling is mutual. Mayor Steve Adler proclaimed Saturday to be “’Supernatural’ Day” in Austin, according to actor Jared Padalecki on Twitter. Padalecki and co-star Jensen Ackles, of the long-running CW adventure series, are fixtures in the capital of Texas, spotted everywhere...
More Stories