Ed. note: The following is one of twenty races we are featuring in the Texas Political Report.
District Overview: The Numbers, The Issues, and the Candidates
House District 96 contains most of southern Tarrant County, encompassing the southern parts of both Arlington and Fort Worth. Considered a swing district, Representative Chris Turner won in 2008 with 51% of the vote over Bill Zedler. The district is one of the numerous suburban districts across the state where Democrats have made in-roads in recent years, and though the district definitely remains conservative, Rep. Chris Turner has shown an ability to attract cross-over voters by focusing on issues that matter to the district: utility rates, homeowners insurance, and education. This year, Rep. Turner was named legislator of the year by the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Rep. Chris Turner is in an especially strong position because of the weakness of his opponent, Bill Zedler. As Elise Hu wrote in her State House feature:
The only hitch may be Zedler himself. Republicans privately say hard-working Turner couldn’t have drawn a more ideal opponent than Zedler, whose awkward personal style and hard-right values are detached from his suburban Arlington district, where new voters are moving in and the issues they care about are in flux.
Even Paul Burka, who often favors Republicans in State House races, has called Bill Zedler a “goofball“:
Bill Zedler is a goofball. There’s no other way to put it. He contributes nothing except to provide occasional comic relief, mainly by laughing uncontrollably when others make fun of him, as when an amendment he wrote was so illegible that speaker Craddick told members they just had to look at it on their computer screens.
Republicans have tried to claim that Rep. Turner only won because of an “Obama sweep” in 2008. However, when you look at the numbers, Rep. Turner outperformed President Obama in2008, earning over 1,400 more votes and demonstrating he has strong cross-over appeal to independents and Republicans in the district.
June 30 Campaign Finance Report:
|HD 96: Turner vs. Zedler
||Cash on Hand
|Chris Turner (D)
|Bill Zedler (R)