It could be described as the educator versus the veteran.
But the Republican fight for state House District 94 is about so much more.
State Rep. Diane Patrick is seeking a fifth term in the Arlington-area district. Tony Tinderholt, who retired from the military after 21 years last year, believes that he would do a better job.
Patrick, 68, said, “I am a common-sense conservative who has a proven record of getting results.”
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Tinderholt, 43, said, “I am a better candidate because of my lifelong service to the people and proven leadership, honesty and integrity.”
Early voting for the March 4 primary runs from Feb. 18 to Feb. 28.
The winner will face Democrat Cole Ballweg and Libertarian Robert Harris in the Nov. 4 general election.
Patrick is a former schoolteacher and professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. She holds a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which plays a role in determining how state money is spent.
“I have always believed in giving my time to our community, whether serving on the Arlington school board, the Texas State Board of Education or many other civic and professional commitments,” she said. “I have had the privilege of serving District 94 for seven years, and I am seeking re-election to continue to use my valuable experience to effectively represent our Arlington community.”
During a recent forum before the Reagan Legacy Republican Women, she said her legislative record shows that she has been involved in “fiscally and socially conservative” issues for years.
“I’m a proven product,” she said. “You know I go to Austin and fight … for our shared values.”
She has already accumulated a sizable war chest, with more than $75,000 on hand, according to a recent campaign finance report filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.
She received more than $13,000 in donations in January, including $1,000 from the Texans for Lawsuit Reform political action committee, $1,000 from the Texas Land Title Association, $3,000 from the Texas State Teachers Association PAC and $100 from the Texas Alliance for Life PAC.
“My top priorities include obtaining needed resources for our state’s infrastructure, especially education, water and transportation,” she said. “My top priority is education because I believe it is the most important economic driver we have. Good public education is good for business in Texas.
“This is a very important primary election for the future of Arlington and for education.”
Tinderholt, who is making his first bid for public office, entered the active-duty Air Force in 1988 as a Spanish cryptologic linguist and re-entered active duty in January 2002 after 9-11.
His military tenure included serving as a platoon leader and a detachment commander for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment; running operations for the largest recruiting battalion in the U.S. Army Recruiting Command; serving with a team of 10 other Army soldiers who lived with and trained an Iraqi special forces battalion; and serving as a battalion executive officer.
“I am very service-oriented,” he said. “I want to continue my life of service to the people. The current representative for District 94 claims to be conservative but ranks in the bottom tier of Republicans as far as conservatism goes, specifically for Tarrant County.”
During the same Republican women’s forum that Patrick attended, he said he is running for office because he’s worried about “the future of the nation and the future of Texas.”
“When I get down to Austin, I’m going to tackle head-on every single issue you think is important,” he said. “I will go there and be a fiscally responsible individual and socially” responsible.
Tinderholt raised $10,100 in January, including $1,500 from Accountability First of Fort Worth and $6,000 form Empower Texans, a conservative Austin-based anti-tax group. He has $9,600 in cash on hand and nearly $11,000 in outstanding loans, a recent report shows.
He said his top priorities are the state’s budget and immigration.
He would like to prioritize infrastructure and address immigration by securing the border “and then hold illegal immigrants accountable for the law.”