State Politics

Ted Cruz draws challenge from Christian TV executive Bruce Jacobson Jr.

North Richland Hills Republican Bruce Jacobson will run against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
North Richland Hills Republican Bruce Jacobson will run against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

Christian TV executive Bruce Jacobson Jr. has made it formal — he will challenge Texas Republican Ted Cruz for his U.S. Senate seat next year.

Jacobson, executive producer of James Robison’s “Life Today” TV show, said in a video Thursday that he’s “ready to serve my state with humility.”

“Ronald Reagan was my hero,” the North Richland Hills man said in the video. “He brought honor back to our country, and in my mind, he brought honor to the term politician. Reagan went to Washington to serve, not be served, and he had the ability to draw coalitions together to move forward a conservative agenda.”

This highly anticipated battle in the Republican primary pits Jacobson against Cruz, a well-known conservative who maintains strong support among grassroots Republicans.

Republican Geraldine Sam, former mayor of La Marque, also filed to run for this post. Democrat U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso is in the race as well.

A Fort Worth-based super PAC has been raising money to help Jacobson’s campaign against Cruz, who made an unsuccessful bid for the White House last year but already has more than $6 million raised for his re-election campaign.

ted cruz
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas Carolyn Kaster AP

Cruz was elected in 2012, over establishment favorite, then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, with much support from the throngs of grassroots volunteers who still support him.

This is just one of the looming 2018 primary battles in Texas.

Another high-profile local race may be a case of deja vu — Fort Worth’s Bo French is challenging longtime state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, to represent the 99th district in the Texas House, as he did in 2015.

Most Tarrant County incumbents have already filed for re-election. But candidates have until Dec. 11 to file for a spot on next year’s ballot.

The primary election is March 6.

House District 99

As for the race for the 99th Texas House district, French posted a note on social media Thursday announcing that he is in the race again.

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Bo French Handout photo

“Two years ago we ran on a message that conservative representation was lacking in our district,” French wrote. “We ran a campaign focused on our vision for conservative leadership and Charlie Geren’s liberal record in Austin.

“We gave the voters a conservative alternative, and the Austin establishment did everything they could to stop us. Charlie Geren spent $1.6 million to keep his seat.”

The two men and their prominent families have long run in the same circles; Geren’s parents lived across the street from French’s grandparents.

charlie geren
State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth Star-Telegram archives

Geren said he wasn’t surprised that French plans to run against him again.

“I beat him soundly last time and I look forward to doing the same this time,” Geren said.

U.S. Senate

As for the U.S. Senate race, the PAC supporting Jacobson, a political newcomer, has in the past criticized Cruz for spending so much time outside of Texas last year during his presidential bid.

Jacobson, a Texas native, worked in the U.S. Department of Transportation under President Ronald Reagan. He also served as a deputy regional representative for the Department of Labor under President George H.W. Bush.

“Most politicians today are far more interested in serving themselves and their own agendas than the people who elected them. Blinded by their own political ambition, nothing ever gets done and we have political gridlock,” Jacobson said in his video. “With a Republican in the White House and a Republican majority in Congress, it makes no sense that we can’t move forward with a conservative agenda.

“Most of this gridlock comes from obstructionists in the Senate. We should expect more, and we should demand better. As an advocate for citizens of the great State of Texas, I will do just that, representing and working for ‘The Heart of Texas.’ 

Cruz’s staff did not respond Thursday to a request for a comment.

Other filings


Here’s a look at some of the other Republican candidates who have filed and will be on the Tarrant County ballot, according to party and state lists.

Governor: Incumbent Greg Abbott

Lieutenant Gov: Incumbent Dan Patrick

Comptroller: Incumbent Glenn Hegar

Agriculture Commissioner: Incumbent Sid Miller

Land Commissioner: Incumbent George P. Bush

Railroad Commission: Incumbent Christi Craddick

Supreme Court: Incumbent Jeff Brown

U.S. Senate: Republican Geraldine Sam, former mayor of La Marque

Congressional District 12: U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth

Congressional District 24: U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell

Congressional District 26: U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Pilot Point

Texas Senate District 9: State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills

Texas House District 91: State Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth

Texas House District 92: State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford

Texas House District 94: State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington

Texas House District 96: State Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington

Texas House District 97: State Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth

Texas House District 98: State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake

Texas House District 99: State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth

Texas Board of Education District 11: Incumbent Patricia “Pat” Hardy

Tarrant County Judge: Incumbent Glen Whitley

Tarrant County Commissioners Court: Incumbent Andy Nguyen for precinct 2; Incumbent J.D. Johnson for precinct 4.

Tarrant County District Clerk: Incumbent Tom Wilder

Tarrant County District Attorney: Incumbent Sharen Wilson

Tarrant County Clerk: Incumbent Mary Louise Garcia

Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1: Incumbent Ralph Swearingin

Justice of the Peace Precinct 2: Incumbent Mary Tom Cravens Curnutt

Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3: Bill Brandt

Justice of the Peace Precinct 4: Toni Glover

Criminal District Court, No. 1: Incumbent Elizabeth Beach

Criminal District Court, No. 3: Incumbent Robb Catalano

Judge, 231st District Court: Jesse Nevarez

Judge, 233rd District Court: Kenneth Newell

Judge, 236th District Court: Incumbent Tom Lowe

Judge, 322nd District Court: James Munford

Judge, Criminal Court No. 9: Incumbent Brent Carr

Judge, Probate Court No. 1: Catherine Goodman

County Criminal Court, No. 10: Incumbent Phil Sorrells

Tarrant County Republican Party Chair: Rick Barnes, Darl Easton


Here’s a look at some of the local Democrats who have filed and will be on the Tarrant County ballot, according to party and state lists.

Governor: Grady Yarbrough of Flint, Adrian Ocegueda of Dallas, Tom Wakely of San Antonio

Lieutenant Governor: Michael Cooper of Fort Worth, Mike Collier of Humble

Attorney General: Justin Nelson of Austin

Agriculture Commissioner: Kim Olson of Mineral Wells

Railroad Commission: Roman McAllen of Denton

Congressional District 6: Ruby Faye Woolridge of Arlington

Congressional District 24: John Biggan of Hurst

Texas House District 90: Incumbent Ramon Romero Jr. of Fort Worth

Texas House District 95: Incumbent Nicole Collier of Fort Worth

Texas House District 97: Beth Llewellyn McLaughlin of Fort Worth

Texas House District 101: Incumbent Chris Turner of Grand Prairie

Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5: Incumbent Sergio De Leon of Fort Worth

Justice of the Peace, Precinct 8: Incumbent Lisa R. Woodard of Fort Worth

This article includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley