Lamar Smith

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Update: Of the seven congressional nominations up Tuesday night in Central Texas, only two were competitive.

In the race for the Democratic nomination for CD 25, Julie Oliver pulled away late in the evening to beat Chris Perri by a couple thousand votes. Oliver now heads to November and a race against incumbent Republican Roger Williams and Libertarian Desarae Lindsey.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The most contested congressional race in Texas is House District 21, which stretches from South Austin to San Antonio and up into the Hill Country.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Four candidates emerged Tuesday from a field of 22 to face off in runoff elections to replace U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith in Congress.

Joseph Kopser and Mary Wilson will compete in the Democratic runoff, while Chip Roy and Matt McCall will vie for the Republican nomination. The runoff elections are scheduled for May 22.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Twenty-two primary candidates are vying for Texas' 21st Congressional District seat this year, 18 Republicans and four Democrats.

The congressional district covers parts of Austin, the Hill Country and northern Bexar County. The primary elections are March 6; early voting starts Tuesday.

CHRISTOPHER CONNELLY / KERA NEWS

From Texas Standard.

The deadline for Texas candidates to file to run in the 2018 primaries was Monday. And if you’ve been trying to keep up with the latest rash of Congressional retirements and scandals, plus what’s turned out to be a pretty crowded field of Democratic gubernatorial candidates, you may be wondering how to sort through all of the noise.

The Austin American-Statesman’s Political Editor Bob Gee highlights five Texas races that are worth a closer look.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

There’s a whole lot of potential change right now on the Texas political landscape. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has a challenger for his office from fellow Republican Trey Blocker, a longtime lobbyist who will take on the colorful incumbent. It’s the most serious intra-party challenge to a sitting statewide official – at least so far.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, is retiring from Congress, two sources close to the congressman told The Texas Tribune on Thursday.

"For several reasons, this seems like a good time to pass on the privilege of representing the 21st District to someone else," he wrote in an email obtained by the Tribune. "... With over a year remaining in my term, there is still much to do. There is legislation to enact, dozens of hearings to hold and hundreds of votes to cast."

Aubrey Gemignani/NASA/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith is on a mission to uncover what he calls "Russia's propaganda war against fossil fuels." The Republican congressman whose district includes parts of San Antonio, the Hill Country and Austin, said as much in a recent letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

It’s still a long time before the congressional midterm elections in November 2018. But a lot of candidates are already showing interest in running. And many of them are embracing an environmental message that, traditionally, has been kept on the sidelines.

Photo by KUT News

KUT Radio’s broadcast news reporting is also available online. Here’s a mid-week look at what we’ve been following.

Austin Energy Rates Get Another Hearing This Week:

“The rate increase would be cut into two phases — most of the increase starting this year, the rest in 2014; $105 million would be transferred from Austin Energy’s budget to the city’s general fund;  and churches and small businesses would get a discount. So would customers outside the city limits.

People using 200 kilowatt-hours of energy or less each month would get the smallest bill.

The changes were meant to address some criticism of the utility’s first proposal. But some critics say the changes don’t go far enough.”

City to Vote Soon on Weekend Night Rail:

“The City of Austin and Capital Metro are getting closer to hammering out a deal on weekend Red Line rail service.

Photo courtesy of Rep. Smith's website

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been pulled by its sponsor, Texas Rep. Lamar Smith.

Smith issued a statement today in response to the news that SOPA’s companion bill in the Senate, the Protect Intellectual Property Act, had been pulled from by majority leader Sen. Harry Reid. Smith writes:

“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products. …  

The House Judiciary Committee will postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution.”

Smith’s announcement will likely due little to stem the vitriol directed his way in a stream of memes that started in the wake of the SOPA blackout.

recycling
Photo by KUT News.

Texas House District 48 Race Still in Limbo

Democratic Incumbent Donna Howard maintains her position by only 15 votes.  Many wonder when or if her Republican challenger Dan Neil will ask for a recount.  Neil released a comment on his Facebook last night: