Texas House District 2, east of Dallas, includes Hopkins, Hunt, and Van Zandt counties. Republican incumbent House Rep. Dan Flynn’s consistent political shift to the left, combined with his outright opposition to the Republican Party platform position against taxpayer-funded lobbying has earned him two challengers on his right flank. Republican challenger Bryan Slaton is back for a third showdown against Flynn, and Republican activist Dwayne Collins has also thrown his hat into the ring. The winner of this three-way Republican battle will face Democrat contender Bill Brannon in November.
Dan Flynn (R)
Dan Flynn has been a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives since 2003. Professionally, Flynn has worked in banking, finance, and served in the U.S. Army and Texas State Guard. He has chaired committees under Texas House Speakers Straus and Bonnen, currently serving as the Chairman for the Defense & Veterans’ Affairs committee. The priorities listed on Flynn’s website include defending gun rights, protecting the right to life, and securing the border. According to the non-partisan ranking done by Dr. Mark Jones of Rice University of all Texas legislators, Flynn has become consistently more liberal with each passing legislative session.
Bryan Slaton (R)
Bryan Slaton is back for a third attempt at defeating Flynn and representing HD2. Professionally, Slaton worked as a minister for thirteen years and now runs and operates Slaton Financial Services. The top three issues on his website are immigration and border security, educational opportunity, and zero-based budgeting. In 2016 and 2018, Slaton lost to Flynn by less than 2 percent and 4 percent of the vote, respectively. These slim margins, along with general conservative discontent with Flynn, seem to have persuaded Slaton to enter the race once more.
Dwayne “Doc” Collins (R)
A veterinarian by trade and a long-time conservative activist, Doc Collins volunteered for the Cruz and Trump campaigns, founded five TEA party groups, and served as a delegate to Texas and National Republican Conventions. He has also won several awards for his conservative activism. According to his website, Collins’ political goals are to “Drain the Austin Swamp,” keep taxes low, combat illegal immigration, and provide low-cost healthcare.
Bill Brannon (D)
Bill Brannon has over 40 years of professional experience in politics, having served on numerous campaigns and as staff for Democratic State House and Senate members. His top priorities include incentivizing economic development in rural Texas, expanding Medicaid, and increasing funding for public education. He was defeated by Dan Flynn in the 2018 general election by 34,411 votes, or a 60 percent margin. Brannon has reported no fundraising for this election cycle, so he is not included in the chart below.
|Dan Flynn (R) [Incumbent]||Bryan Slaton (R)||Dwayne Collins (R)|
|Total Money Raised||$148,862||$156,137||$13,510|
|Total Number of Donations||166||55||35|
|Average Donation Amount||$897||$2,839||$386|
|Total Money Raised In-District||$3,950||$1,517||$5,775|
|Total Number of Donations In-District||6||13||23|
|Percentage of All Money Raised In-District||3%||1%||43%|
|Total Money Raised Outside District||$144,912||$154,620||$7,735|
|Total Number of Donations Outside District||160||42||12|
|Percentage of All Money Raised Outside District||97%||99%||57%|
Since 2015, 86 percent of Flynn’s money — and 82 percent so far this election cycle — has come from PACs and lobbyists. This heavy funding from Austin is not unusual for a long-time incumbent, particularly one who has chaired important committees. As an incumbent, he will continue to be extremely hard to defeat.
Like Flynn, Slaton’s reports also show a dearth of donations from inside HD 2. He has racked up $75,000 each from two families — Farris and Jo Ann Wilks and Tim and Terri Dunn. These donations alone account for 96 percent of his fundraising this election cycle. Slaton’s edge in the final stretch is his nearly 5-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage. That’s a lot of money to fund last-minute ads and turn-out-the-vote efforts.
Since neither of these candidates can boast many in-district donors, they may find themselves in another tight battle. Newcomer Collins could make all the difference this time around. Although he’s far behind Flynn and Slaton on fundraising, he’s way ahead with the number of in-district donors. On March 3, only residents of House District 2 get a vote, so don’t count Collins out. If he doesn’t win, he might at least push the race to a runoff.
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*According to the most recent reports on file with the Texas Ethics Commission.