Senior Connor Flanagan ready for the Texas House

Senior Connor Flanagan ready for the Texas House

March 28
14:07 2016

Jynn Schubert | @JynnWasHere

Julia Falcon | @falconpunch_

As the runoff election for Texas House District 64 between Republicans Read King and Lynn Stucky heats up, political media arts senior Connor Flanagan is gearing up for the general after he beat Paul Greco on Super Tuesday in March.

Connor Flanagan poses outside the Hurley Administration Building on campus. He's running as a Democrat in the race for Texas House District 64. Courtesy | Facebook

Connor Flanagan poses outside the Hurley Administration Building on campus. He’s running as a Democrat in the race for Texas House District 64. Courtesy | Facebook

Flanagan, 21, is due to graduate in December, so he’s making plans now to be in Austin when the next legislative session begins to focus on standardized testing in lower education as well as making college more affordable, both highly debated issues on the presidential campaign trail and in the halls of the Texas capital.

A transfer student from Texas Tech, Flanagan originally wanted a job in TV punditry or production. He’s a son of a lawyer, so he’s been politically aware his whole life. Between his TV show on ntTV, the 15 credit hours, 10 hours a week of studying, he still finds time to do about 40 hours a week in campaigning, he said. He doesn’t neglect the family either, nor can he get away from his friends — his campaign, Flanagan said, is comprised mostly of his pals.

“My friends think it’s cool that I’m running, but it doesn’t come up,” Flanagan said. “They treat me the same and it doesn’t consume our friendship at all. They’re really supportive.”

Both of Flanagans parents support his decision to run, even though they were a little doubtful of his choice at first. It was his mother who broke the news that he had won the Democratic Primary against Greco.

“I didn’t think it would happen,” Flanagan said. “My parents thought I was insane and didn’t have enough experience, but I meet all of the requirements to run. They didn’t think anyone would give me a chance.”

Flanagan said his campaign is self-funded. He listed no expenditures or contributions on the latest campaign finance report, according to documents from the Texas Ethics Commission.

“Hopefully I’ll get more donations, but during the primaries I was more concerned about face-to-face time,” Flanagan said. “I don’t like asking for money, I’m gonna have to get over it obviously. It’s a lot of talking and going door to door. Campaigning, especially in this area, is a lot of convincing. My best bet is focusing on Denton voters, they would consider voting Democrat. My goal is to focus on people who have an open enough mind and to get people to register to vote.”

Greco said that despite his young age, Flanagan not only meets the requirements to run for this position, but also has what it takes to win in the general against a Denton County Republican establishment which has won every partisan election in the last 14 years.

“I think it’s time for a younger generation to reach out,” Greco said. “I have a lot of confidence in him and I’ve always liked him. Connor is running pretty close and parallel to my ideas, but we have a few differences. He is absolutely a clear politician, he wanted to be it and he’s good at it and I think he’s the next generation of congressmen.”

The youngest of seven kids, Flanagan has learned to power through and not allow his youth to be serve as a disadvantage on the way to achieving his goals.

“Paul cares a lot about the race, and he has more time than I do to do full time campaigning,” Flanagan said. “One of my friends told me that now I am an actual politician, and that hit me. I am so excited and ready for it. It was wearing me out, but I am not going to give up and I’m going to try my hardest the rest of the year.”

Phyllis Wolper, chairwoman of the Denton County Democrats, said she has been there for moral support for Flanagan as well as the other Democratic candidates.

“If he is able to muster enough loyal Democrats in the county, it is possible for him to win,” Wolper said. “I always encourage young people to step up and get involved at whatever level they are comfortable with.”

Greco said he’s happy to see a diversity in candidates running for election.

“I’ve been learning a lot, and Connor had political science and journalism professors help him out. The younger generation was also raised on the social media and that helps out a lot,” Greco said. “Connor knows his stuff too, he has a passion for it, he knows how to talk to people and that’s what I like about him and his compassion for people. I think this will be an exciting election.”

Flanagan said his young age has both positive and negative political side effects, however he doesn’t often have to fight his opponents on this front.

“They treat me like an adult,” Flanagan said. “My age never gets brought up, and we run clean campaigns. They are respectful and nice and there’s no dirty political things being talked about. There will be traditionalists who don’t think I am experienced enough, but I think people will see my passion no matter how young I am.”

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