Sorrells wins Republican runoff for district attorney

Phil Sorrells

Longtime Tarrant County criminal court Judge Phil Sorrells resoundingly defeated State Rep. Matt Krause in Tuesday’s primary runoff to become the Republican nominee for Tarrant County’s next district attorney.

Sorrells beat Krause by 59.2 percent to 40.8 percent, according to unofficial results of vote counts from all 152 Tarrant County vote centers.

With the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, Sorrells sustained a lead over Krause throughout the vote counting.

Krause conceded the race more than an hour before the final votes were tallied.

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“I just called (Sorrells) to congratulate him and wish him well in November,” Krause stated on Twitter. “We will be doing what we can to make sure the rest of the GOP ticket make it across the finish line in Nov. Thanks to everyone who supported our campaign the last few months. Congrats Phil!”

Shortly afterwards, Sorrells declared victory.

“Thank you to the voters of Tarrant County – I value the trust demonstrated in today’s election results,” Sorrell stated. “I believe the District Attorney has a consequential and direct impact on every community member’s individual quality of life.

“My life’s work in the criminal justice arena prepared me for the job,” Sorrells stated. “The responsibility to ensure justice is done in every case will always remain my top priority.”

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Sorrells was the frontrunner in the March 1 Republican primary with 40.5 percent of the vote. Krause finished second with 30.8 percent and a third candidate, Mollee Westfall, finished third with 28.6 percent.

Although Sorrells and Krause are politically aligned as committed conservatives, Sorrells, 58, spent his entire career as a judge and assistant district attorney in Tarrant County.

He chided Krause during the campaign for his lack of experience in criminal law.

Krause, 41, has represented District 93 in the Texas House since 2013. His endorsements included U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. He countered Sorrell’s campaign attack about his lack of experience with messaging about the nature of the district attorney’s job as more of a leadership and administrative role than a courtroom litigator.

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Krause’s legal experience involved advancing and defending pro-life, religious liberty and other constitutional issues while running a national nonprofit constitutional litigation firm.

As chair of the House Committee on General Investigating, Krause initiated an inquiry into content taught in Texas public schools and developed a list of 850 books that should be banned due to sexual content or that might make students feel distressed or uncomfortable about their race or gender.

Prior to entering the district attorney’s race, Krause joined the crowded race for Texas Attorney General.

But after Sharen Wilson announced her plan to retire as Tarrant County district attorney, Krause dropped out of the statewide race and filed to run for district attorney.

Sorrells will face Democrat Tiffany Burks in the November general election.

In other local races, incumbent Republican State Rep. Stephanie Klick defeated challenger David Lowe 54.3 percent to 45.6 percent in the District 91 race. There is no Democratic challenger in this race in November.

The Republican race for Krause’s District 93 seat pitted conservative activist and former pastor Nate Schatzline against former Southlake Mayor Laura Hill. Schatzline defeated Hill 65 percent to 35 percent. He will face Democrat K.C. Chowdhury in November.