REPLAY: Republican and Democratic District 13 congressional debates

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WICHITA FALLS (KAMR/KFDX) — With early voting starting Monday for the July runoff election, voters in Texas’ 13th Congressional District will have the chance to hear from the Democratic and Republican primary candidates hoping to be on the November ballot.

In the Republican debate, Josh Winegarner, agriculture expert, and former White House doctor Ronny Jackson squared off against each other.

The Democratic debate featured two Amarillo natives: Gus Trujillo and Greg Sagan.

Republican Debate Replay

Who are the Republican candidates?

The incumbent, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, is retiring after two and a half decades in Congress.

After a massive primary, the two GOP candidates left for the seat are Ronny Jackson, the retired Navy rear admiral and former White House doctor, and Josh Winegarner, a veteran agriculture expert and lobbyist.

This race has heated up more than most around the state, as Texas Tribune’s primary political correspondent Patrick Svitek said.

“It really I think is outpacing some runoffs in terms of the fierceness of the debates we are seeing,” Svitek said. “The negative advertising that we are seeing and just the overall give and take of the races and it’s heated up really quickly.”

Winegarner was born and raised in the Panhandle, attending Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. His legislative career includes working for former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. Winegarner also served the Texas Cattle Feeders Association for more than a decade.

Jackson is a retired U.S. Navy Admiral who served in the military for 25 years. He is from Levelland, which is just outside district lines. As White House physician, he served under three Presidents: George. W. Bush. Barack Obama and Donald Trump. President Trump also considered Jackson to lead the Department of Veteran Affairs, but Jackson withdrew his name from consideration after allegations of unprofessional behavior while working as the White House physicians, something Jackson denies.

Texas Tribune wrote:

Armed with Trump’s endorsement, Jackson is leaning hard on his White House connections to argue he could continue the influence that Thornberry has accrued in Washington. Winegarner, who has Thornberry’s support, is pitching himself as far more in touch with the district than Jackson, who moved to Amarillo last year to run for the seat after 25 years in the military.

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“Whoever wins the Republican race on July 14 is very likely to prevail in November and be the next congressperson and again, because it is such a safe district, that person could serve for a very long time,” Svitek said.

Democrat Debate Replay

Who are the Democratic candidates?

Gus Trujillo is a graduate of West Texas A&M University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management. In 2013, he was selected to represent the university as a congressional intern for Rep. Mac Thornberry. He is now the office manager for the Amarillo Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

His opponent is business consultant Greg Sagan, who recently returned to the race after withdrawing for health reasons. He is a retired U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander who served 14 years in the military. Sagan also has a political science degree from West Texas A&M University. Sagan.

During a February I-team investigation, Lisa White claims she was molested by her brother-in-law, Congressional Candidate, Greg Sagan, more than 40 years ago.

Sagan dropped out of the race two weeks later due to a medical condition during the outset of the pandemic.

When is the election?

The 2020 primary runoffs will be held on Tuesday, July 14. The election was supposed to take place on May 26 but was postponed due to coronavirus. Early voting is longer because of the pandemic as well. Early voting runs from June 29 through July 10. As a reminder, if you voted in a party primary in March, you have to vote in that same party during the runoff.

The general election is Tuesday, November 3.

Read a transcript of the debate HERE


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