In North Texas, a runoff election between a Republican incumbent and challenger has generated headlines over whether or not there should be death penalties for abortions. The race for House District 91, however, goes beyond that gruesome debate and highlights just how crazy Republican primaries have become.
Last month, State Rep. Stephanie Klick was forced into a runoff with David Lowe, an army veteran who became the North Texas Regional Director for the Texas Republican Party. Lowe was motivated to run against Klick for apparently being a RINO (Republican in Name Only).
Klick has served in the legislature since 2013, and she was endorsed by Greg Abbott earlier this year. A look at her history shows she appears to be completely in sync with the Texas Republican Party. She voted for bills banning critical race theory (which is not taught in schools). She voted for legislation that bans trans athletes from competing in teams that match their gender identity. She was one of the authors of Senate Bill 8, an effective six-week abortion ban. And even though she is a registered nurse, she opposes vaccine mandates.
But in 2022 that’s not enough. At a recent campaign forum in Fort Worth, Lowe opened the door toward death penalties for abortion. According to Bud Kennedy of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Lowe praised a bill that did not pass last session that would have made abortion a capital crime.
“Do we all agree that abortion is murder?” Lowe asked. “Absolutely, there should be consequences for it.” The bill Lowe was referencing, HB 3326, was filed by Rep. Bryan Slaton. Anybody who received or performed an abortion could potentially face the death penalty. It had no exceptions for race or incest.
Abortion is one of many issues listed on Lowe’s campaign website (along with the usual suspects like school choice, “election integrity,” the Second Amendment and several other Republican priorities). But according to Lowe, what prompted him to run was his insistence that Klick, the chair of the Committee of Human Services and Pensions, is to blame for a bill outlawing medical care for trans children not passing in the last session.
Lowe’s campaign is awash with anti-trans rhetoric. On his social media feeds and website, Lowe uses medically inaccurate terminology about healthcare for trans children. It’s eerily similar to what Ken Paxton used in his non-binding legal opinion calling for child abuse investigations into those who seek or provide healthcare for trans children in Texas.
Who advances past the runoff on May 24 is up to the voters of HD 91. However, with the runoff still weeks away, there’s more than enough time for this house district race in North Texas to get even uglier.