HOUSTON (FOX 26) - There are 150 seats in the Texas House of Representatives and for this primary season, the very last is among the first when it comes to drawing statewide attention. Debbie Riddle has represented District 150 for the past 14 years with a conservative voting record few will dispute closely mirrored the GOP line.
"It was my bill that I authored that put 'under God' in our Texas pledge," said Rep. Riddle with pride. But when Riddle was elevated by Speaker Joe Strauss to a coveted position on the House Calendars Committee, she drew heavy fire from critics like Dr. Steve Hoetze for failing to push through a slate of socially-conservative legislation.
Those critics are now backing Valoree Swanson with cash and endorsements. The longtime-Republican activist claims Riddle has become a Republican in name only who does the bidding of a moderate speaker and no longer represents the values of her deeply red district.
"She started becoming less and less conservative and this last time is totally voting with the liberal Speaker of the House Joe Strauss and representing lobby money," said Swanson adding, "I will not talk one way at home and vote another way in Austin."
Rep. Riddle says she has never knowingly voted against a measure limiting abortion as Swanson claims and has used her legislative seniority to veto dozens of Section 8 low income apartment complexes proposed throughout her north Harris County district.
"I kill six to ten of those every year from coming into our district," added Rep. Riddle. "If I didn't have the tools to do that and it takes a seasoned veteran to know how to do that, then quite frankly our whole area would have a much, much different feel."
Analysts say the Republican Primary in District 150 is one of the few races where the challenger has actually drawn more money than the incumbent.