Who's Running for a Seat Under the Dome in 2016?

Dec 15, 2015

It's still just over two months until the Texas primary, but yesterday’s filing deadline cements who we’ll officially see on the ballot in March. The big race emerging over the last few days comes in the wake of the retirement of long-time State Rep. Elliot Naishtat.

That's led to 7 people filing to run for his seat in House District 49. All are Democrats and cover a wide range of experience – from former legislative staffers to advocates for housing and abortion rights to a current AISD School Board member. 


Aspen Dunaway – Dunaway is a trial lawyer and director of the Dunaway Law Firm, a downtown firm specializing in personal injury litigation.

Huey Rey Fischer – Fischer is a former policy aide at the Capitol for San Antonio Democratic State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer.

Gina Hinojosa – Hinojosa is an attorney and has served as an Austin Independent School District Board member for three years, serving as the board’s president since January. Hinojosa formally announced last night at the board’s meeting that she will step down as president but continue on as trustee until her term expires in November of 2016.

Kenton D. Johnson – Johnson is an Austin-based attorney.

Blake Rocap – Rocap is an Austin attorney. He’s also previously served as legislative counsel for the group NARAL Pro-Choice Texas during legislative sessions.

Matthew Shrum – A former Travis County prosecutor, Shrum is now a criminal defense attorney.

Heather Way – Way is an attorney, professor at UT’s School of Law and affordable housing advocate

Beyond District 49, there are only a couple other races with any action in the party primaries. Southwest Travis County State Rep. Paul Workman has a challenger in Jay Wiley, a conservative attorney who vied for the District 6 seat on the Austin City Council last year.

Long-time Horseshoe Bay-based State Sen. Troy Fraser is retiring, and five Republicans are battling for the district that touches western Travis County.

Of the three Williamson County state reps, only incumbent Republican Rep. Marsha Farney has a primary opponent in Marble Falls resident Terry Wilson.

In Hays County, there are no contested state legislative primary races.

As far as the other Senate and House districts that reach into Travis County, Democratic incumbents Donna Howard, Eddie Rodriguez and Dawnna Dukes don't have a primary challenger or a Republican one in the November general election. Rep. Celia Israel will face off against Republican Cesar Ruiz in November.