David Watts

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David Lee Watts
Political party Unsuccessful Republican candidate for Texas Land Commissioner (2014) and State Representative (2016)

Born 1967

(Reared in the Houston area)

Spouse Desiree Anne Hansen Watts
Religion Church of Christ minister

David Lee Watts (born 1967) is a business consultant and conservative activist from Upshur County in east Texas, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate in the primary election held on March 1, 2016, for the District 7 seat in the Texas House of Representatives, which encompasses Gregg and Upshur counties. He was defeated by the Moderate Republican Jay Dean, the former mayor of Longview.[1] Dean prevailed, 14,577 votes (58 percent) to Watts' 10,572 (42 percent).[2]


Watts was born in Texas, location unavailable and reared first in the Houston area. His father was a minister, and the family moved c. 1980 to the area about Louisville, Kentucky. He returned to Longview in Gregg County c. 1999 and worked and resided there for a decade. He since relocated to East Mountain, a rural area between Longview and Gilmer. He and his wife, the former Desiree Anne Hansen (born 1961), have two daughters, Hannah and Natasha, and a son, James. He studied from 1988 to 1989 at California State University at Northridge, thereafter the University of Louisville (bachelor's degree), and the Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University in Downers Grove in DuPage County near Chicago, Illinois. He is a minister of the Church of Christ.[3]

Political life

From c. 1980 to 1991, he resided in Louisville, he ran unsuccessfully for the District 31 seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives. In that campaign, he urged a repeal of the newly increased state sales tax and an end to special exemptions for racehorse owners. As a delegate to the subsequent Jefferson County Republican Convention, he championed conservative solutions to public issues.[4]

In 2014, Watts was defeated for the Republican nomination for Texas land commissioner by George P. Bush, son of defeated presidential candidate Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida. George P. Bush polled 934,571 primary votes (73 percent) to Watts' 345,565 (27 percent). Watts received only 36 percent of the ballots cast in his own Upshur County.[5] Bush then defeated the Democrat John Cook, a former mayor of El Paso. Watts has been critical of Land Commissioner Bush's out-of-state campaign appearances in 2015 on behalf of Jeb Bush's presidential aspirations. He said that Bush should remain in Austin to tend to his elected duties as Watts would have done had he won the 2014 election, rather than campaigning across the country.[6]

Watts sought to succeed Republican Representative David Simpson of Longview, who ran instead unsuccessfully for the Texas State Senate seat vacated by the retiring Republican Kevin Eltife of Tyler. Simpson lost a runoff contest to fellow representative Bryan Hughes of Mineola.[1] Known for his constitutional stands, Watts used the slogan "Less Government, More Liberty". He is strongly pro-life and unwavering in support of the Second Amendment. He even opposes property taxes, long a mainstay of local governments in Texas. Watts takes the view that such taxes deny homeowners full possession of their land and dwelling because annual payments must be rendered to city, county, school district, community college, and various other entities as well. He calls this phenomenon "perpetual rent that you pay to the government for your property, for the rest of your life." Until these taxes can be ended, Watts said legislators must hold appraisal district accountable to voters.[7] He supports the election of appraisal board members, rather than the long-term system of appointment by the governmental entities themselves.[1]

Watts favors using state military personnel to guard the lengthy border with Mexico, considering the lack of consistent federal involvement in such patrols. Like Governor Greg Abbott, he opposes the admission of Syrian refugees into Texas for fear of terrorist threats. "We must fully fund law enforcement efforts on the border and provide them with the tools to get the job done," said Watts on his Facebook page. He opposes sanctuary cities in Texas, which harbor illegal immigrants; departing Senator Eltife, a Moderate Republican, helped to kill a measure to ban sanctuary cities in the 2015 legislative session. Watts opposes the legalization of marijuana.[6]

Watts' opponent, Jay Dean, is a native of Opelousas, Louisiana. Dean contributed to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, a Moderate Republican from San Antonio who often joins with Democrats to block conservative measures in the legislature, particularly through the House Calendars Committee which the Speaker controls. Straus is stepping down from the House in January 2019. On June 4, 2014, Dean declined to issue a proclamation but instead wrote a welcoming letter to an LGBT gathering in Longview, an issue that Watts raised in the campaign. Watts said that as a state representative he would "not bend to the LGBT agenda and will work relentlessly to protect our liberty and way of life."[8][9] Watts carried the endorsements of two high-profile Texas Republicans, Agriculture Commissioner Sidney Miller and U.S. Representative John Ratcliffe of the 4th Congressional District in the Dallas suburbs.[10] Watts was also endorsed by State Senator Bob Hall and four Republican state representatives, Jonathan Stickland and Matt Krause, both of Tarrant County, Matt Schaefer of Tyler, and Molly White of Belton in Bell County.

In 2018, former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, on his Facebook page, announced that he, Davey Edwards, Rick Range, and David Watts -- all opponents of George P. Bush in the 2014 and 2018 primaries -- are supporting the Democratic nominee for land commissioner, Miguel Suazo, in the November 6 general election. An energy attorney, Suazo is a former aide to former U.S. Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico. Patterson said that the decision is based on Suazo's commitment to preserving the historical integrity of The Alamo and keeping the cenotaph in place. Otherwise, Patterson said he will vote straight Republican.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Glenn Evans (July 3, 2015). Republican candidate David Watts joins race to represent Gregg, Upshur counties. Longview News-Journal. Retrieved on November 28, 2015.
  2. Republican primary returns (March 2, 2016). Retrieved on March 2, 2016.
  3. David Watts in Gilmer, Texas. intelius.com. Retrieved on November 28, 2015.
  4. David Watts - Candidate For Texas Land Commissioner. Stopthemagnet.com. Retrieved on October 8, 2017.
  5. Republican primary election returns. team1.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved on March 6, 2014.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Watts for Texas. Facebook. Retrieved on November 28, 2015.
  7. David Watts for Texas House. wattsfortexas.org. Retrieved on November 28, 2015.
  8. Jay Dean: Supporting the LGBT Community. wattsfortexas.org. Retrieved on January 26, 2016.
  9. Stephanie Frazier (August 8, 2014). Longview mayor, PFLAG group reach agreement over gay pride celebration. KLTV. Retrieved on January 26, 2016.
  10. David Watts. wattsfortexas.org. Retrieved on January 12, 2016.