by: Daniel Marin
Posted: / Updated:
AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s a ‘tale of two cities’ for the Democratic primary candidates battling to win the congressional race in Texas’ 35th district.
The open seat represents parts of east Austin and southeast Travis County, with a sliver running down I-35 through San Marcos and New Braunfels into downtown San Antonio.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett has represented 35 for about a decade. As KXAN has reported, this election cycle, he’s running in the newly-created District 37.
District 35 candidate and former San Antonio City Council Member Rebecca Viagran said the choice to run in the Democratic primary was an easy one.
“It’s an open seat, and open seats do not come along very often,” she said, adding a lot of her campaign has been about introducing herself to Austin voters.
“I am a fresh and new perspective,” Viagran told KXAN. “And I’m also a candidate who delivers results, results that will last.”
For Austin State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D), it’s the opposite — making sure San Antonio voters get to know what he’s about.
“It can be a challenge. Here’s what I will say, though. The issues that I think matter to people in Austin and Travis County are the same issues that matter to the people in Hays County and Comal County and Bexar County,” Rodriguez said.
Educator and community activist Carla-Joy Sisco doesn’t have the name recognition in either city, but she said she’s been doing her homework.
“There’s a lot of territory to cover,” she told KXAN. “You have to do enough research to understand the demographics.”
On the topic of demographics, District 35 was tweaked in the last round of redistricting in the state legislature.
Previously, the district covered six counties and had a population of roughly 833,000 people, 74% minority, mostly Hispanic. The new map drops the district to four counties, about 766,000 people, but still 74% minority.
Candidate Greg Casar feels issues like fair wages, access to health care and housing affordability unite the electorate.
“This is a working-class district where we want to put working-class issues first,” the former Austin City Council member told KXAN. “We are really proud to be connecting people’s issues across the district.”
Democrats are favored to win the district. There are 10 Republicans and one Libertarian also in the race. You can find links to their campaigns below.
Dist. 35 GOP Primary Candidates
- Jenai Aragona-Hales
- Bill Condict
- Marilyn Jackson
- Alejandro Ledezma
- Dan McQueen
- Sam Montoya
- Asa Palagi
- Michael Rodriguez
- Dan Sawatzki
- Jennfer Sundt
Dist. 35 Libertarian candidate
- Michael Idrogo