As elections draw near, House District 61 candidates are sparring over campaign materials and voting records.
Rep. Charles Sargent, a 20-year incumbent of the House position, recently said challenger Steve Gawrys had been lying to voters in an attempt to gain their support.
“This man refuses to debate, won’t tell anyone what he stands for, is largely funded by a fringe group and has spent months openly lying about my legislative record,” Sargent said. “This is the disheartening side of modern politics, when people are willing to take whatever means to pursue their objective. Fortunately, the citizens of Williamson County are smarter than that.”
In the last election, Gawrys came close to defeating Sargent, with a margin of just more than 240 votes.
“I have debated Mr. Sargent, and shared the same stage with Mr. Sargent, numerous times,” Gawrys said in response. “And each time we stated our reasons for running. In fact, I very much enjoyed the opportunity to debate Mr. Sargent. I am running to replace a career politician who sponsored an ObamaCare bill, and who voted to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.”
Sargent said Gawrys said he supports ObamaCare because as House Finance Chair, he sponsored legislation forced under the mandate of the federal government that would have had a major impact on the state budget. A week later the mandate was deemed legally unenforceable and the bill was pulled. Sargent also said that the bill regarding driver’s licenses for illegal aliens actually strengthened penalties for illegal drivers and it passed 96-3 in the House.
“Legislative records are available online, including video from each and every committee hearing and floor session,” Sargent said. “It’s astounding that he thinks he can get away with just lying about all of these important issues.”
Gawrys recently called on the Registry of Election Finance to investigate a series of campaign events around Sargent, and the incumbent replied calling the accusations “ludicrous.”
“Many Republicans like myself take issue with Mr. Sargent’s behavior in the Finance Committee, especially his intense opposition with conservatives,” Gawrys said. “Therefore, I believe District 61 deserves conservative representation, and that 20 years is long enough.”
Sargent and Gawrys are running for the House District 61 seat, which encompasses Brentwood and some of Franklin. Terrence Smith is also running, but could not be reached for comment. Early voting began on Friday, July 15 and continues through July 30. Election Day is Thursday, Aug. 4.
Samantha Hearn reports for Home Page Media Group. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @samanthahearn.