Uncontested: No Choice for Voters in Phil Stephenson’s District
In Texas House District 85, incumbent Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton) is running unopposed. If Stephenson secures another win in 2020, likely without a challenger, he will be elected to serve his fifth term.
American democracy is entrenched in the fundamental principle that citizens are involved in decision-making with the power to elect an individual to represent them. Without a variety of candidates to align with and choose from, citizens lose their power to be heard.
Stephenson defeated Democratic challenger Jennifer Cantu in 2018 by a 13 percent margin. Representative Stephenson has a history of controversial legislation and votes, influenced by the groups contributing money to his campaign. In 2017, Stephenson co-authored a bill that would prevent property owners from suing insurers over storm claims. The bill was pushed by the Political Action Committee, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, who have contributed nearly $20,000 to Stephenson during his time in office.
Without a challenger from the opposing side, House District 85 is stuck with Phil Stephenson. Citizens should have a choice and the opportunity to vote for a candidate that aligns with their views. Instead, they have a Representative that votes for the groups that give him the most money, not for his constituents. Diversity in elected officials is imperative when it comes to moderating the legislature and balancing the playing field.
However, it’s not too late. The filing deadline for candidates is December 9, 2019.
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