Game six of the World Series was just getting started but a packed house of dedicated Republicans opted to miss the first few innings in order to hear from local candidates for state senate. (Organizers appeared stunned when they had to set up extra chairs.)
The three candidates answered questions for over an hour. State Rep. Rodney Anderson of Grand Prairie and former state Rep. Toby Goodman, both vying to replace retiring state Sen. Chris Harris of Arlington, were there, as was state Rep. Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills, who is running to unseat state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. (Hancock's primary opponent, state Rep. Mark Shelton of Fort Worth, but did not make the forum.)
While the candidates focused almost entirely on state issues, their responses to questions that touched on Gov. Rick Perry's bid for the White House suggested that Perry's struggling campaign may be impacting his support in his own state.
Perry first took a hit when the candidates were asked if they supported repealing the law that allows some illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition rates. Though Perry has spent weeks defending the law and pointing to the broad support it received when it passed in Austin, all three candidates said they would vote to repeal it.
Later on, the candidates were asked to name their top two choices for president. None volunteered Perry as their top choice.
Anderson said Rick Santorum was his "candidate of choice" with Perry as his "1a" pick.
"I like Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, in either order," Goodman said.
Hancock didn't directly answer the question but began his answer by calling Gingrich the smartest of the candidates.
"Is he electable? I really don't know but I do think he's a brilliant, brilliant man," Hancock said.
He then said he had concerns about all of the presidential candidates before pivoting to Perry.
"In Texas and our area, it would be extremely beneficial if we had the governor from Texas [elected president] who understands what it's like to have your tax dollars taken away by the federal government and redistributed to the other states," Hancock said.