One of six candidates to file for the Texas Senate District 30 special election, Denton Mayor Chris Watts said he is running “to be a fresh voice” in Austin.

“I just wanted to take my negotiating skills and problem-solving skills I learned through private business and really use those to benefit the people of District 30,” he said. “I think voters are going to choose between the status quo and a voice such as mine. I want to go down there and not be the status quo.”

Senate District 30 is being vacated by Pat Fallon while he runs for the 4th Congressional District. Other Republicans who have filed for the state Senate seat are: Craig Carter; Andy Hopper; Shelley Luther, the Denton County resident jailed for opening her Dallas salon in defiance of the governor’s orders; and Drew Springer, state representative for District 68.

On the Democratic ticket, Jacob Minter also filed for Senate District 30.

“You have an election in 35 days, and I think it really does the voters a disservice because it is difficult to get a campaign up and running,” Watts said.

On Aug. 23, Gov. Greg Abbott scheduled the emergency special election date for Sept. 29. Early voting is scheduled to begin on Sept. 14.

“The field is full with five Republicans and one Democrat,” Watts said. “I will use my experiences in life to really make a difference for people of District 30 and the state. In Denton, we have a $1 billion budget, and we have promoted strong economic development and small businesses. I think those are things that will serve the people of District 30 well as their senator.”

More than 900,000 people live in the district that includes north Denton County and 13 other counties.

“District 30 has some competing interests, and it takes some skill to balance that,” Watts said. “Solutions will begin to percolate to the top, maximizing the interests of all parties.”

Watts was first elected mayor in 2014. He was scheduled to leave office in May because of term limits, but Denton City Council members in February postponed elections until Nov. 3 because of the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, they voted 5-1 to accept the mayor’s resignation. He agreed to remain mayor until his successor is elected in November. Keely Briggs (District 2) and Mayor Pro Tem Gerard Hudspeth (District 1) are running for that office, along with delivery driver Michael Lee Mitchell.

Watts said his first campaign event is scheduled for Thursday in Parker County.

PAUL BRYANT can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @paulbryant_DRC.

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