Abortion, the death penalty and President Donald Trump were among the topics candidates for the 13th Congressional District March 3 Republican Primary talked about Thursday night during the Wichita Falls Tea Party candidate forum.
Candidates attending included Amarillo railroad conductor Vance Snider, Monique Worthy of Wichita Falls, Elaine Hays of Amarillo, Jamie Culley of Wichita Falls and Kevin McInturff of Wichita Falls.
All five candidates indicated they were pro-life during a question-and-answer session, and two said they were in favor of doing away with abortion altogether. Views on the death penalty differed.
“I do want to abolish abortion, period,” Worthy said during the event at Red River Harley-Davidson. “It’s an abomination, and second of all, I’m against the death penalty because I am pro-life.”
Worthy said she has heard of too many people who died because of the death penalty but who turned out to be innocent.
“I’m all for harsh punishment, OK. I did time in jail,” she said.
Worthy proposed sentencing people to “hard labor all their life” instead of death.
“You can be conservative and still not be for the death penalty,” she said.
Worthy had spoken earlier about becoming Republican while incarcerated for felony theft.
Culley also said she thinks abortion should be abolished.
“But I am for the death penalty, and the reason why I’m for the death penalty is because if we have someone that commits murder, they need to be put to death,” Culley said.
Taxpayers should not pay to house them 20 to 30 years when they are guilty, she said.
“So I don’t have a problem with the death penalty whatsoever,” Culley said.
Snider’s response was, “I’m pro-life, but you’ve got to take an eye for an eye.”
The five candidates appeared unanimous in their support of Trump.
“We all love Trump,” Snider said. “He’s a great president.”
McInturff sounded the alarm about the coming presidential election, raising the specter to the Tea Party group of what would have happened if former U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, had become president.
McInturff contended Clinton is still a threat although she has not been among candidates seeking the nod to run for president.
“She will steal the Democratic nomination,” he said. “If we’re not careful, we’re going to lose this country in one year. Then it won’t matter who is running for Congress.”
During her 15 minutes before the Tea Party group, Hays said district residents have been asking her if she supports the Second Amendment.
“I do have my concealed carry license,” Hays said.
Her brother-in-law, who has been a Denton cop, told her she needed to be prepared to be her own first-responder, Hays said.
During Snider’s turn at the podium and the question-and-answer period, he discussed his support of veterans.
The Army veteran said he thinks the country needs to focus on them and their mental health, and a reform of the entire Veterans Administration system is in order.
Perhaps the most surprising moment of the forum was Worthy’s end to her 15-minute speech: “Epstein didn’t kill himself, and I’m gone.”
Republican Chris Ekstrom of Wichita Falls was slated to attend but did not appear.
Thursday night’s moderator, Ed Stein of Wichita Falls, asked if Ekstrom were there to speak.
Worthy suggested that he was in Dallas.
Ekstrom recently moved from Dallas to Wichita Falls to run for the 13th CD seat.
With U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, not seeking re-election, the field has become crowded with 11 Republicans and two Democrats filing to run in the primaries as of Friday afternoon, according to the websites of the Texas Secretary of State and the Republican Party of Texas.
The filing deadline is Monday.
Snider, Josh Winegarner of Canyon and Jason Foglesong of Amarillo qualified for a place on the Republican primary ballot, according to the TSOS.
Diane Knowlton of Henrietta, Ekstrom, Culley, Hays, former Potter County Justice of the Peace Richard Herman, Worthy, Matt McArthur and Wichita County Commissioner Lee Harvey have all filed with the Texas Republican Party for a place on the ballot.
Greg Sagan and Gus Trujillo, both of Amarillo, qualified for a place on the Democratic primary ballot, according to the TSOS.
Trish Choate, enterprise watchdog reporter for the Times Record News, covers education, courts, breaking news, politics and more. She loves getting news tips. If you have a good one, contact Trish at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Twitter handle is @Trishapedia.
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