Here Are The 2018 State House Races In Central Texas We're Watching
The 2018 midterms have turned into one of the most competitive elections across the country, with more candidates running in more places. That's certainly been true in Texas, as the state's Democrats have come off the mat to field candidates in all congressional and statewide races.
In Central Texas, there are three state House seats that are uncontested by the GOP: Democratic incumbents Donna Howard (HD 48), Celia Israel (HD 50) and Eddie Rodriguez (HD 51) don't have Republican challengers.
Here are the races that do:
House District 45
The district includes all of Hays and Blanco counties.
Current Rep. Jason Isaac skipped running for another term in the Legislature to instead launch an unsuccessful bid for Congress. So Republican Ken Strange will try to keep the seat red. He's running on increasing school safety, improving roads to boost safety and reduce congestion, and protecting local groundwater resources.
The Democrat running is Erin Zwiener. She wants to increase public education funding and end high-stakes testing, increase investment in renewable energy and help preserve the area's groundwater. She'd also like to see the state expand its Medicaid program to offer health insurance to more people.
House District 46
The district makes a little backward "C" in taking in much of East Travis County from Pflugerville to East Austin.
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes represented the area for 12 terms before she lost in the Democratic primary this spring.
Democrat Sheryl Cole is running to replace her on a platform of raising public school funding and blocking school voucher bills, helping East Austin residents continue to live in a part of town that is rapidly gentrifying and becoming expensive to live in, and supporting the rights and liberties of minority populations and the LGBT community.
Her Republican opponent is Gabriel Nila. His platform focuses on three things: ending the school-to-prison pipeline, fighting gentrification and bringing integrity back to the district. That last part is a reference to the end of Dukes' political career, which included an indictment that was later dropped by the Travis County DA's office.
Libertarian candidate Kevin Ludlow is also on the ballot. He supports open borders, an end to the death penalty, and the legalization of recreational marijuana.
House District 47
The district takes up the western third of Travis County.
Republican Rep. Paul Workman is seeking his fourth term in office. His re-election website is thin on issues, but he's been publicly squabbling with the City of Austin over several of its policies, including the recently passed paid sick leave ordinance and the regulations that make it more expensive to build in Austin.
His Democratic opponent is Vikki Goodwin. She's pushing for more state funding for public education and is against school-voucher programs. She also wants to increase gun regulations, like banning bump stocks and closing gun sale loopholes.
House District 49
The district runs through the middle of the city from North-Central Austin to South-Central.
Democratic incumbent Gina Hinajosa is running for her second term. She's focusing her re-election effort on increasing public education funding, allowing public colleges and universities (like UT Austin) to opt out of the state's campus-carry law, and defending abortion rights and restoring funding to Planned Parenthood.
Her GOP challenger is Kyle Austin. While he's running as a Republican, when you read the detailed platform and policies on his campaign website, you're led to the American Capitalist Party's platform. That points to two goals: "Protecting the freedom of man's mind" and "assuring the prospering of human life."
House District 136
The district takes up a chunk of Southwest Williamson County, which includes about 5 percent of Austin's population.
Republican Rep. Tony Dale is hoping to win his fourth term in office. He's campaigning on fighting violent drug cartels and securing the Texas-Mexico border, limiting standardized testing while keeping tax rates low, and limiting the spread of toll roads.
His Democratic opponent, John Bucy, ran and lost against him in 2016. He's back this year hoping to take advantage of the fact that Hillary Clinton got more votes in HD 136 than Donald Trump did in 2016. Bucy is running on increasing public education funding and stabilizing the Teacher Retirement System. He also wants the state to expand Medicaid and lower property taxes.
Libertarian Zach Parks is also on the ballot. He opposes gun control and favors legalizing marijuana.
To find out what's on your ballot, including what state House District you live in, go here.