SAN ANTONIO - Frank Pomeroy, the longtime pastor of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, took the first official step in launching his state Senate campaign in South Texas this week.
Pomeroy's church was the site of a mass shooting in 2017 that left more than two dozen dead, including his daughter. Pomeroy was out of town when the shooting, one of the deadliest in modern Texas history, occurred.
On Wednesday, he filed paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission appointing a campaign treasurer for his Senate District 21 run. He'd still need to file paperwork with the Texas Secretary of State's office before his campaign is official. The period to file candidacy with the SOS is Nov. 9 to Dec. 9.
The district stretches from Laredo to the western Rio Grande Valley, to Corpus Christi, up to areas south of San Antonio and north to southwest Austin.
The seat has been held since 1987 by state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, a Democrat. Pomeroy has not yet declared which party primary he'll run in this March. It appears this race will be his first foray into politics.
Zaffirini ran unopposed in her last election in 2016 and took nearly 70 percent of the vote in 2012.
Six months after the shooting at his church, Pomeroy was invited by President Donald Trump to lead the White House's National Day of Prayer.
According to a Texas Ethics Commission spokesperson, the campaign treasurer is Pat Dziuk, who assisted the church in managing millions in donations after the shooting.
Pomeroy, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, will be required to report his campaign contributions in January if he moves forward and raises money.
He is partaking in a panel discussion on mental health and gun violence in San Antonio on Saturday morning, which KSAT 12 is covering.
Patrick Svitek, a reporter at the Texas Tribune, first reported the filing. In a statement sent to Svitek, a spokesperson said "nothing has been announced until after Sunday morning service, so we cannot deny or confirm."
In recent weeks, after police said a gunman targeting Hispanics and immigrants killed more than 20 people in an El Paso Walmart, Pomeroy said things need to change in order to better prevent shootings.
“We are blessed in a hemisphere,” Pomeroy said. "On the other side of the world, these acts have been going on a long time. This man, from what I see in the news reports, went in and took all of the innocent lives he did because he disagreed with the immigration policy. How sad is that that now those deaths were just political ploys for him? The more we step away from morality and teaching our young people to respect life and one another and look more to a self-centered and egocentric viewpoint in life, the more we are going to have these tragedies."
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