Politics & Government

Perry endorses Fisher over Stickland for House District 92 seat

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry AP

The GOP battle for House District 92 is heating up, with allegations of past drug use by state Rep. Jonathan Stickland and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry throwing support to his challenger.

Perry on Tuesday announced that he’s endorsing Bedford pastor Scott Fisher, who he once appointed to serve on two state commissions.

“Scott Fisher has an incredible record of achievement,” Perry said in a statement. “Scott Fisher knows how to take strong conservative values and turn them into successful conservative policies.

“Scott is a conservative that can get things done.”

Stickland, a Bedford Republican first elected to the post in 2012, dismissed Perry’s announcement.

“I’ve served my district for nearly four years now and have never tried to represent Austin insiders, only the conservatives in my district.”

House District 92 includes Hurst, Euless, Bedford and parts of Arlington, Fort Worth and Grand Prairie.

The Perry endorsement came on the heels of Fisher, senior pastor of Metroplex Chapel of Euless, bringing up past marijuana use by Stickland.

Allegations

The pastor’s campaign asked Stickland to explain posts on marijuana.com made in 2001-02 about potentially growing a “stash” of marijuana in his home.

In an e-mail, Stickland said he made mistakes during his “teens and twenties” and regularly smoked marijuana during those years.

Fisher’s statement said “the reality indicated by additional public internet posts is that Stickland’s drug use has continued long afterwards,” notable because of a 2008 online post “asking for advice about how to avoid failing a work ordered drug test.”

Stickland said he and other politicians, including presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, have smoked marijuana, but he never grew it.

“I hope and pray that my daughters never make the mistake I made, and that, if they do fail, they know of the forgiveness readily available,” Stickland said in a statement.

“Scott Fisher knows that I represent the Christian conservative values of my constituents, so he has instead decided to focus on a post I made at 17 years old and mistakes I made in my teens and twenties,” he said. “It’s disappointing that politics has gotten to this point where even a pastor will stoop this low.

“Every campaign I have run has focused on the issues, but if Mr. Fisher wants to make this campaign about my personal testimony, we can do that too.”

Years of service

Fisher has served on a variety of state and local boards through the years, and was appointed in 2008 by Perry to serve on the Texas Youth Commission. Two years later, when the agency became the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Fisher stayed on and served as chair.

He served on the Board of Managers of the John Peter Smith Health Network for years, as well as on the state GOP executive committee, as a three-time national delegate, a precinct chair and election judge and more.

In his only campaign for elective office, Fisher, who was director of communications for Texas Christian Coalition from 1992-1996, made an unsuccessful run for Bedford mayor in 1994.

Stickland, an opinionated Tea Party conservative, has been described as a political bomb-thrower by some.

In two legislative sessions, he has drawn headlines for everything from wearing his concealed handgun nearly every day at the Texas Capitol to being the focus of an investigation into whether witness cards were falsified.

A months-long Texas Rangers investigation earlier this year over the witness cards wrapped up showing that no one committed prosecutable offenses. But Travis County’s District Attorney said there was evidence of falsification.

He has received a number of endorsements for his re-election campaign, including from state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams, Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz and Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackleford.

The Texas primary election is March 1.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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