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Donna Howard Blames National Mood for Tight Race

Donna Howard
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News
HD48 Democratic incumbent Donna Howard at the Driskill Hotel

Democratic State House incumbent Donna Howard is currently in a neck-and-neck race with her Republican challenger Dan Neil.  With 10 of 39 pecincts reporting, Howard is leading in District 48 by one percentage point. She gave her reaction to KUT News at the Democratic watch party underway at the Driskill Hotel.

KUT News: Your reaction to the results so far?

Howard: Obviously, it's closer than I would like. It's very early, so I'm still optimistic about things. But certainly the national political climate has had an impact on what's happening locally. I think that's very disappointing that we've not been able to talk about the local issues, the Central Texas issues, the Texas issues. The [state] legislature actually has something we can do in those areas, rather than what's happening in Washington, which we have very little to say about if at all. It's very disappointing.

KUT News: Is name recognition helping your opponent, (former radio talk show host) Dan Neil?

Howard: You know, we mounted a full campaign. We've been doing block walking and phone banking. I've made hundreds of calls just in the past couple days. We made thousands, total. We've had ads on the television to try to talk about issues, not about my opponent but about me. And he has had some mailers that were only involved with one forum that I attended, so it's hard for me to say at this point. I would still suggest that perhaps the national climate has a lot more to do with it than what's happening locally.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.