Listerine and sanitizer? This whole Fort Worth-area Texas House race needs a scrubbing

Handout photos and Yffy Yossifor/yyossifor@star-telegram.com
·3 min read

North Fort Worth is full of fresh arrivals, and they might be represented by a fellow newcomer next year in Austin.

Former Southlake Mayor Laura Hill and former California pastor Nate Schatzline have lived in the city only briefly. Both are locked in a three-way race with City Council member Cary Moon for the vacant District 93 Fort Worth seat in the Texas House.

A six-year councilman with overwhelming voter support like Moon should easily win a ticket to Austin.

But Moon got arrested on a drunken-driving charge in October 2020 after leaving his bar in Burleson, Dalton’s Corner, and is accused of violating his 18-month probation. He faces a Johnson County hearing Feb. 22, a week before the March 1 Republican primary.

Moon says the trial will be his chance to “disprove the administrative failings” before Judge Robert Mayfield.

Personally, if I were facing jail and could prove it was all a mistake, I’d want to do that a lot sooner than a week before the election.

But Moon laid out his defense for a Republican club the other night, saying his court-ordered ignition interlock device recorded high readings once due to Listerine mouthwash, and another time because he used a sanitizer with a high alcohol content.

“I’ve made changes to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Moon said.

He described probation as a “challenge.”

For example, he conceded that he flew with other officials to New York to pick up police and firefighters for a 9-11 ceremony.

“I did not view it as overnight travel,” he said.

But the probation office did.

Moon said it is enlightening to learn the legal risk of “consuming one margarita at a Mexican restaurant.”

Johnson County’s courts can be very enlightening.

The pending hearing has definitely slowed Moon’s campaign, but he already had more than $100,000 in the bank.

The best-funded candidate is Hill, with more than $100,000 in donations to match Moon. But she only moved to Fort Worth in recent months, renting an apartment off the North Freeway.

Hill told the Republican club audience how she started her business, an ice cream company, in an area near Roanoke and Trophy Club that is now in District 93.

Schatzline, meanwhile, has stepped up his fundraising. He’s making campaign appearances with the district’s current House member, state Rep. Matt Krause, and with county judge candidate Tim O’Hare of Southlake.

Schatzline moved to Fort Worth in June 2020, according to his Facebook page, returning to Texas from a California ministry to pastor at a Watauga church.

But he blundered, too.

When a forum guest asked about education, Schatzline talked about his days as a “college professor in economics.”

That was in 2019 at SEU-NorCal, a tiny Modesto, California satellite campus of Florida-based Southeastern University.

Officials there say he was an adjunct faculty member who taught microeconomics classes that met at The House Church, a megachurch.

Schatzline said Thursday that SEU-NorCal called him an “adjunct professor.” That’s not unusual.

But he should make it clear that he lectured. He didn’t teach full-time or earn an academic title.

Frankly, I have no idea which of these three candidates will make a likely May 24 runoff.

If Hill and Schatzline advance, Moon can even turn around and run May 7 for his City Council seat back.

Moon responded sharply to that notion.

“It’s been an honor to serve,” he wrote on Twitter. “I’ll be serving @CityofFortWorth at the Texas Capitol. Texas 93 is a Fort Worth seat. We need Fort Worth experience.”

Johnson County will have a say about that.

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