The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation will host a forum on Thursday, Feb. 6 for candidates vying for the open Texas House District 10 seat that will be contested in the March 3 Republican primary election.
The forum will be held at the Waxahachie ISD Performing Arts Center at Waxahachie High School from 7 to 9:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. for time to meet and greet the candidates.
Maypearl ISD superintendent Ritchie Bowling told the Daily Light that Maypearl students will sing the National Anthem and will greet attendees, and that all Ellis County school districts will be involved.
The candidates for this race are Jake Ellzey, Ryan Pitts and Robert "Zach" Rader, all Republicans. No Democrats filed to run for the seat, which means the March 3 GOP primary winner will be elected to office.
Monday is the last day to register to vote in time for the March 3 primaries. The Ellis County Elections Office at 204 East Jefferson Street in Waxahachie will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day.
The District 10 seat came open when incumbent Rep. John Wray announced last year that he would not seek re-election.
According to TxElects.com, as of Jan. 16 — the deadline for state officeholders and candidates to file their January semiannual campaign finance reports — Pitts out-raised Ellzey, $176K to $104K, and outspent him, $118K to $53K. Pitts has a slight edge in cash on hand, $61K to $48K. Rader, the third Republican in the race, reported no contributions.
The forum will be an issue-focused conversation including questions on statewide and local topics. The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation will not endorse candidates.
Here are biographical capsules of each candidate, listed alphabetically:
A former U.S. Naval officer and fighter pilot, Jake Ellzey served as a social aide in the George W. Bush White House, a member of the Texas Veterans Commission, and the CEO of the public speaking and professional development organization HoldFast.
He filed to challenge U.S. Representative Joe Barton in the primary before Barton announced his retirement. He said he was running against Barton due to his disagreements with him on immigration and Barton's 33-year tenure in office. Ellzey lost to current incumbent Rep. Ron Wright in a runoff.
Ellzey ran for the 10th District seat in the Texas House of Representatives in 2014. He was endorsed in that race by then-Gov. Rick Perry (R). Perry backed him in his 2018 bid as well.
Ellzey graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1992. He served in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot, doing tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. His professional experience includes working as a civilian contractor.
Born and raised in Waxahachie, Ryan Pitts is a fourth-generation Ellis County resident. Pitts is the Executive Vice President of family-owned Ellis County Title Company, and was selected to the list of Ellis County’s “40 under 40” Business Professionals.
An active volunteer in the community, Pitts serves as the Vice President of the Waxahachie Foundation and a member of the WISD Community Education Advisory Board and the Waxahachie Family YMCA Board of Management.
The son of former State Representative Jim Pitts, Ryan Pitts holds a degree from Southern Methodist University and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. He and his wife Faith Anne are the proud parents of an infant daughter, Evelyn.
Robert “Zach” Rader
Zach Rader is an Oak Leaf resident who grew up in Ennis and graduated from Harding University (Ark.) with a bachelor of arts degree in economics in 1995.
“I work as a maintenance man at a church,” Rader said as to his current occupation. “That’s about it — I’m a pretty boring guy.”
Rader previously told the Dallas Morning News he admires Ron Paul as a political leader and advocated taxing people less, and supports school vouchers for parents to send their kids to any accredited school institution they wanted.