Two Well-Known Names Face Off for Collin County Senate Seat

Two well-known family names are facing off in the Republican primary for the Texas Senate seat in Collin County.

State Sen. Van Taylor, R–Plano, announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress, and now Phillip Huffines and Angela Paxton are competing for his seat.

Huffines hopes to join his brother, Don Huffines, R-Dallas, in the state Senate, and Paxton is the wife of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

"My father would sit around the dinner table, and I remember so well growing up, and he would say, 'Boys, when there is an opportunity, the community has been good to us, and you need to give back,'" Huffines said.

Huffines is the Republican Party chair in Dallas County, and he moved to Richardson this year. We asked him about people who may think he moved there just for the job.

"Well I do live in the district, and my roots run really deep into Collin County for over 90 years. My family has been active in business in Collin County," Huffines said.

He points to the family's car dealerships and development.

The Republican nomination looked like a sure thing for Huffines until recently. Both Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, and Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, considered running but decided against it. That is when Paxton decided to enter the race.

"I look forward to competition," Huffines said.

Paxton said this move was completely unexpected. Until one week ago she was a guidance counselor at Legacy Christian Academy.

"I went in and met with my principal and said, 'I think I am going to have to step away from my job, because I think I am going to run for the Texas Senate,'" Paxton said.

Paxton said when Shaheen got out, she got a number of calls, encouraging her to do it.

Paxton may be new to running for office, but not political life. Though she is married to the attorney general, she says she will be an independent voice.

Paxton will need to do some fast fundraising. Huffines has about $2.3 million on hand.

We asked her if she was concerned about that.

"We just announced that I was in the race for earnest last Wednesday, a week ago today, and I feel great about my fundraising even already," she said.

It's likely to be an expensive campaign, and a closely watched one.

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