The U.S. Senate race is taking up almost all the oxygen in Texas politics, but there are some state Senate races worth consideration as well.
The Austin area has five Senate Districts. Since state senators have staggered four-year terms, only three of them are up for election this year.
The district includes Williamson County and picks up all or part of nine others as it shoots into East Texas.
Republican incumbent Sen. Charles Schwertner is seeking his third term in District 5. He’s running on traditional Republican themes of increasing border security, protecting gun rights and limiting abortion rights. In the run-up to the election, Schwertner was accused of sending a lewd picture of himself to a UT Austin student. He has denied the claim. The university has hired someone from outside the school to investigate.
His Democratic opponent, Meg Walsh, is running on increasing teacher pay and stabilizing the Teacher Retirement System, along with restoring cuts to family planning clinics – like Planned Parenthood – and increasing state funding in public schools to help lower property taxes.
Amy Lyons is on the ballot running as a Libertarian. Her campaign includes a plan to end the education accountability STAAR test, legalize marijuana, and lower property taxes.
The district includes most of Travis County and all of Bastrop County.
Democratic incumbent Sen. Kirk Watson is running for his fifth term in office. The former Austin mayor is pushing his accomplishments on health care, like the creation of the UT Austin’s new Dell Medical School. He wants to increase school funding and continue to find money and plans to mitigate flooding along the Colorado River, as well as making sure the area is ready the next time drought conditions return.
Republican George Hindman is pushing three items in his campaign: He wants to cap property tax increases, expand religious freedoms, and increase rigor in the public school system, while also creating a statewide voucher system.
Libertarian Micah M. Verlander is also on the ballot.
The district runs from the bottom of Travis County to the northern section of Bexar County, including all or part of six counties.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Donna Campbell is seeking her third term in office. She is the chair of two Senate committees: the Veteran Affairs & Border Security and the Legislative Committee on Aging. She has worked on veterans issues during her time in office, but her website does not include any information on what issues she is campaigning on.
Democrat Steven Kling pushes an agenda of removing corporate influence from the Legislature, supporting public education, supporting veterans and increasing access to health care by expanding who is eligible for Medicaid.
To find out what's on your ballot, including what state Senate District you live in, go here.