A Texas businesswoman earlier this year won over many conservatives after she kept her salon open despite government mandates that “non-essential” businesses like hers remain closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, she’s running for Texas’s state senate, according to the Texas Tribune.
Shelley Luther announced Saturday that she’ll run for Texas Senate District 30 in a special election. The seat has been held by Pat Fallon, who is heavily favored to defeat Democrat Russell Foster in November in a contest to represent the state’s 4th District in the U.S. House. John Ratcliffe had been in that spot before joining the Trump administration in May as director of national intelligence.
Luther announced her bid Saturday at a “Back the Blue” rally in Denton, Texas, held in support of law enforcement officers. Nearby were demonstrators showing their support for Black Lives Matter, reported the Denton Record-Chronicle, with some members of two sides debating one another.
“For the Senate seat to open up where I live, in Pilot Point, you better bet I’m putting my hat in the ring,” Luther told the crowd, according to the local paper. “I will fight to keep our Texas values.”
Luther made headlines earlier this year when she refused to shut down her salon in North Texas during the pandemic. A Dallas judge sentenced her to seven days in jail and $7,000 in fines for contempt of court for violating a temporary restraining order. Grassroots support for Luther soon followed, including a GoFundMe campaign raising over $500,000.
Soon the state’s supreme court intervened, ordering Luther’s release after two nights, and Governor Greg Abbott rewrote an executive order to remove jail-time provisions.
In May, U.S. Republican Senator Ted Cruz visited her establishment for his first haircut in three months. The day before, Luther had been released early from her seven-day jail sentence.
“We’re thrilled to be with you and know the whole State of Texas is standing with you, so thank you for your courage,” Cruz told Luther during his visit, according to KTVT.
Thank you to Shelley Luther and the team at Salon a la Mode for giving me my first haircut in 3 months & more importantly for standing up for liberty and common sense. Your courage helped pave the way for more #TX businesses to re-open & for more people to get back to work today. pic.twitter.com/R66rZsqxFN
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) May 8, 2020
Hints that Luther might run for office came earlier this month, when she wrote on her Facebook page:
“With Sen. Pat Fallon’s victory in this weekend’s special election, dozens of you have called, texted, or emailed to ask me about running in the upcoming special election in Senate District 30. I’m not a politician, but as a conservative business owner, I am immensely concerned about the direction of our state. Please pray for my family as we consider our next steps.”
The geographically large Texas Senate District 30 encompasses Archer, Clay, Cooke, Erath, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Wichita, Wise, and Young counties, as well as portions of Collin and Denton counties.
Start your unlimited Newsweek trial