Four Republicans running to replace Kel Seliger


By Bethany Blankley

The field to replace Sen. Kel Seliger’s Senate District 31 seat in the Texas Panhandle is growing.

The West Texas legislator announced in October that he was retiring and wasn’t running for reelection.

Seliger, one of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas Legislature, repeatedly voted against property tax reform measures, banning taxpayer-funded lobbying, and legislation requiring an audit of Texas elections.

The primarily Republican SD31 includes the West Texas areas of Amarillo, Midland, and Odessa.

The first to declare their candidacies for the position were Midland oil and gas tycoon Kevin Sparks, and Coahoma ISD Trustee Stormy Bradley, both Republicans.

Sparks is considered the front-runner, having already been endorsed by former President Donald Trump and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

“At a time when far-left activists seek to nationalize our elections, indoctrinate our kids with so-called critical race theory, and surrender our southern border to the drug cartels, the hard-working families of Senate District 31 deserve a state senator who will proudly defend our conservative values,” he said.

Sparks is president of Discovery Operating, Inc, a family owned and operated oil and gas company in Midland, which employees hundreds of workers and has for nearly 50 years.

Bradley is the owner of multiple businesses, including Bulldog Steel, a full-service steel manufacturer in Big Spring. As a Coahoma ISD board member, she’s “fought to keep anti-American propaganda and critical race theory out of our schools.” She also holds a leadership position with the Big Spring Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees, and recently won a Russ McEwen Community Hero Award.

Most recently, with two weeks of the filing deadline to declare candidacy, two more candidates have thrown their hats in the ring: retired FBI agent Tim Reid and attorney Jesse Quackenbush.

“As an FBI agent, state trooper, police officer, school board member, and foster child, I believe that I am uniquely qualified to represent the citizens of this district,” Reid argues. “I will actively work on the issues that we face to strengthen the future of Texas. I have served the people of this district for 28 years and call the Panhandle and all of West Texas home.”

Citing education as his top priority, Reid is currently the director of Athletics and Campus Safety and a teacher at Ascension Academy, a private school in Amarillo.

Amarillo attorney Jesse Quackenbush is running for a second time for the seat, after unsuccessfully running for the seat in 2004. Quackenbush recently told the Odessa American that he was against the recently passed Texas Heartbeat Act.

“I’m pro-life, but until Roe v. Wade is repealed, I’m against gratuitously going out there and wasting millions of dollars just to test the waters with a law that is obviously unconstitutional while senselessly adding a severe crisis for women who seek that type of healthcare,” Quackenbush said.

Attorney General Ken Paxton, and those who passed the law in the state legislature, and Gov. Greg Abbott, who signed the bill into law, disagree, arguing the bill is constitutional, and legal.

The filing deadline for all candidates seeking to run for any office in Texas in the 2022 Election is Dec. 13. The primary election is scheduled for March 1, 2022.

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