Neither of Texas’ US Senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, are up for reelection this year. While all its congressional representatives are, only one of those races is competitive, and that race isn’t in Austin.
Austin is the 11th-largest city in the country and the most liberal in the state but has only one Democratic Congressional representative, Lloyd Doggett. In years past, he represented large swaths of central Austin but now represents an area stretching down I-35 starting south of east Sixth Street and ending in San Antonio. He has served Austin well since being elected to the Texas Senate in 1973. Each year his work has justified his reelection, as his work this year on prescription drug affordability has proved. His Republican challenger, Susan Narvaiz, has lost this race to him in both 2012 and 2014. He deserves to win again. This race is not likely to be close.
No other congressional race looks likely to be close either. Lamar Smith has abused his power as the chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee to overburden climate scientists and state attorney generals whose work contradicts his denial of climate change. That, and his continued support for Donald Trump, are disqualifying. While his opponent, Tom Wakely, has never held office in this state, Smith has shown that he shouldn’t be going forward. He represents a swath from West Campus to San Antonio — and also the Republican stronghold of Kerrville, which will keep him in place.
The same goes for Michael McCaul, who represents part of north Austin and Pflugerville, as well as Brenham and Katy, and is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. At this Summer’s Republican National Convention, he stoked fears over terror attacks and immigrants and praised Trump. He too deserves to be replaced, but won’t be. His opponent, Tawana Cadien, lost the same race in 2012 by almost a quarter of the vote.
And you won’t be surprised to hear that Roger Williams is in the same situation. He represents an area stretching from his hometown of Weatherford, south of Fort Worth, to our campus and the downtown area. He supports Trump and is being investigated for ethics violations for potentially authoring legislation that may have benefited his car dealership. He will soundly beat his opponent, Kathi Thomas, whom he has out-fundraised almost 30-to-1.
As the capital of the state, we deserve better than the gerrymandered districts that don’t represent us. We endorse the Democratic candidates in each of these races. None of them will be close either way.
Our state contains almost 10 percent of the country’s population and has one competitive district. We are only guaranteed representation if we can vote incumbent legislators out for not doing their jobs. Three of the four legislators who represent us don’t deserve to, and will continue to. And that is a largely issue that any of those races unto themselves.