AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s a “tale of two cities” for Democratic primary candidates battling to win the race for Congress in Texas’ 35th District.
The open seat depicts parts of east Austin and southeastern Travis County, with a ribbon running down I-35 through San Marcos and New Braunfels to downtown San Antonio.
Democratic U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett has represented 35 for about a decade. As KXAN reported, this election cycle he is running in the newly created District 37.
District 35 candidate and former San Antonio City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran said the choice to run in the Democratic primary was an easy one.
“It’s an open seat, and open seats don’t show up very often,” she said, adding that a big part of her campaign was running for Austin voters.
“I’m a fresh, new prospect,” Viagran told KXAN. “And I’m also a candidate who delivers results, results that last.”
For Austin State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D) is the opposite — making sure San Antonio voters know what he’s talking about.
“It can be a challenge. Here’s what I’ll say, though. The issues that I believe matter to the people of Austin and Travis County are the same issues that matter to the people of Hays County, Comal County and Bexar County,” Rodriguez said.
Educator and community activist Carla-Joy Sisco isn’t recognized in either city, but she said she was 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 subject of demographics, District 35 was tweaked during the last redistricting cycle of the state legislature.
Previously, the district covered six counties and had a population of approximately 833,000 people, 74% minority, mostly Hispanic. The new map reduces the district to four counties, about 766,000 people, but still a minority at 74%.
Candidate Greg Casar believes issues such as fair wages, access to health care and housing affordability unite the electorate.
“This is a working-class neighborhood where we want to prioritize working-class issues,” the former Austin City Councilman told KXAN. “We really take pride in connecting people’s issues across the district.”
The Democrats are favored to win the district. There are 10 Republicans and one Libertarian also in the race. Below are links to their campaigns.