Two Hays County Republicans are vying for a chance to represent Texas House District 45, a swing district in Hays and Blanco counties that GOP leaders are targeting this year.
The winner will take on incumbent state Rep. Erin Zwiener, who was elected in 2018, becoming the first Democrat to win the seat since 2010.
Carrie Isaac is a Woodcreek resident and executive director of the Digital Education and Work Initiative of Texas, a nonprofit that helps disabled veterans and others find work.
Isaac did not respond to a request for an interview, but in February, she told The Big Texas Podcast that the possibility of flipping the district was an inspiration for her to run.
“Flipping this district is the reason I’m here,” Isaac said.
In an interview with Dripping Springs News last year, she said her political know-how makes her a strong candidate.
“I have been knocking on doors and campaigning since 2009,” she said. Isaac is married to former Texas Rep. Jason Isaac, who held the seat she’s running for from 2011 to 2019. “I have knowledge of how the Legislature works. I wouldn’t be a typical freshman; I have relationships, I’d hit the ground running.”
In February, an Austin American-Statesman investigation found that Isaac's nonprofit spent less than 1% of its revenue on veterans in 2018. The investigation also found possible conflicts of interest among the group’s three-member board.
She called the questions about her charity work a “political witch hunt.”
Isaac was recently endorsed by the Gun Owners of America.
“I cannot wait to fight for constitutional carry, against gun free zones, and against red flag laws,” she said in a video with the gun rights organization this month.
During the Republican primary in March, Isaac received 47.9% of the vote and her opponent, Kent "Bud" Wymore, received 41.3%.
Wymore is an attorney and general counsel for the Hays County Republican Party. He lives in Driftwood and grew up in Hays County, attending Hays CISD schools and graduating from Texas State University in San Marcos. He attended law school at St. Mary’s University before opening his own firm, focusing on business and real estate law.
Hays County Commissioners Mark Jones and Walt Smith have endorsed the candidate, and he's also received an endorsement from former Hays County Commissioner Will Conley.
Wymore did not respond to multiple requests for an interview, but his website outlines several issues he intends to focus on if elected, like lowering property taxes and strengthening border security.
“Texas was once a much more rural state, much more rural area, and the system that we had for property taxes worked when Texas wasn't so urban and suburban,” Wymore said in an interview with the Austin American-Statesman. “But as we increasingly have these pockets around major metropolitan areas where people are living on smaller lots, those values are increasing and it's making homeownership more difficult as time goes by.”
He also says he wants to focus on improving infrastructure. He noted that Hays County is one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation, which has caused a strain on all aspects of the region's infrastructure, from roads to water.
“We face a critical challenge to preserve and protect our area's natural beauty, while also growing our roads, water, and public safety infrastructure to protect our quality of life for years to come,” Wymore says on his website. “At the same time, we shouldn't have to sacrifice the quality of our drinking water, rivers and streams, and pristine places just because we are growing. We must strike a responsible balance between preparing for growth and preserving what we love about this place we call home."
Friday is the last day to vote early in the runoffs. Election Day is July 14.
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