There is one more Republican candidate in the running for the Texas House District 60 seat – one who will be very well-funded with close ties to political powerhouse Empower Texans.
Jon Francis on Monday filed with the Texas GOP as a candidate for the seat being vacated by current State Rep. Mike Lang, of Granbury. Lang on Dec. 9 made a last-minute decision to withdraw from the race and not seek a third term. That extended the filing the deadline one more week.
Lang had initially filed for re-election, then backed out to run for a Hood County commissioner seat. However, Lang once again changed his mind – the day after Palo Pinto County fifth-generation rancher and veterinarian Dr. Glenn Rogers filed – and declared he would run to keep his seat.
As Lang was withdrawing for a second and final time last week, his ally Mineral Wells Mayor Christopher Perricone filed to enter the race on the March 3 GOP ticket, joining Rogers and Granbury attorney Kellye SoRelle as candidates.
Francis' entry into the now four-way race – there are no Democratic challengers – makes for an entirely new dynamic.
He is a Cisco businessman and director of finance for Wilks Development. He is the son-in-law of Farris Wilks.
Farris and his brother, Dan, became billionaires in the oil and gas industry and are the second highest financial contributors to the ultra-conservative Empower Texans organization that funnels huge sums of money into political campaigns and conservative causes.
According to a September report by Public Accountability Initiative, the Wilks brothers from 2015 to October 2018 gave $2.45 million to Empower Texans PAC, making them the PAC's second-highest contributors. The report, citing data from "Who Owns Texas?", said they have also given $2.325 million to the Texas Right to Life PAC, $337,500 to the Texas Home School Coalition PAC, $600,000 to the Texans for Fiscal Responsibility PAC and $90,000 to Texans for Vaccine Choice during the 2018 cycle.
In a news release of Francis' filing for the House seat, he states: "I'm a committed conservative Republican. I'm pro-life, pro-Trump and pro-Texas. Our district deserves a conservative outsider dedicated to advancing Republican priorities. I've spent a decade in the trenches fighting on behalf of conservative candidates, and working alongside leading organizations like Live Action and PragerU. My perspective gives me the insight needed to begin advancing conservative principles from day one. I look forward to traveling across District 60 and earning the votes of Republicans in our community."
Francis further states he is committed to accept money only from "individual citizens" and refuse any donations from "lobbyists or PACs."
"I am an outsider, and will represent my neighbors in District 60, not Austin insiders," Francis states.
He and his wife, Jody, live in Cisco. They have two grown children, a daughter who is a senior at Cisco High School, and a son who attends Providence Private Academy.
Texas House District 60 covers eight counties – Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Eastland, Hood, Palo Pinto, Shackelford and Stephens. The district has about 171,000 residents.
Texas House members serve two-year terms.