Runoff Near, Debate Shifts to a New Set of Issues

During the five-way race in the Republican primary to represent a 12-county Hill Country district in the Texas House, two candidates, Rob Henneke and Andrew Murr, largely focused on the state’s water policy and ensuring local control of decisions on education and infrastructure.

The two have advanced to the May 27 runoff to succeed State Representative Harvey Hilderbran, Republican of Kerrville, who ran for state comptroller.

But the conversation in the campaign to represent House District 53 has shifted in a new phase. Discussions about water, taxes and immigration have been somewhat overshadowed by provocative topics like Shariah law, the Islamic code of law derived from the Quran.

“I’m going to be the candidate that’s going to fight to advance the constitutional conservative principles that I believe in and that this district believes in,” Mr. Henneke, a former Kerr County attorney, said.

Mr. Murr, a former Kimble County judge and county attorney, said his brand of conservatism would appeal to voters. “The message of having a voice coming from local government worried about issues like water and property rights resonates with a lot of people,” he said.

During a recent appearance on a local radio program about religion, the two candidates squared off, sharing their views on water, immigration, anti-abortion efforts and Shariah law.

“I’m very concerned about the infiltration of our society by Muslims right now in Texas,” Mr. Henneke told listeners. “I don’t think people are aware about how pervasive that has become in our society.”

He said he would support in the next legislative session the passage of the American Laws for American Courts Act, which would forbid the use of foreign law in the state’s courts.

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