Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35), the district’s current incumbent, has decided to run for re-election in the newly drawn 37th Congressional District, also located in Austin.
“I believe that working families from Bexar, to Hays, to Comal, to Travis County deserve a progressive leader who will always fight and deliver for reproductive rights, good jobs, Medicare for All, and a better Texas,” Casar said in an announcement video.
“That’s why I’m running for Congress because this is our fight — our future.”
Casar, from Houston and the son of wealthy Mexican immigrants, made his bones in Austin politics with the Workers Defense Project — a “worker center” activist group that acts effectively as a union for contract workers who are often illegal immigrants.
On council, he’s consistently been the most progressive, advancing policies such as the public camping ban recission, the lax bail policy for indigent offenders, and the ongoing “reimagining” effort of the Austin Police Department.
As an activist, the councilman is close to Austin’s web of progressive organizations, with whom he’s worked extensively to pass such policies. And he’s been staunchly critical of the state legislature’s passage of Constitutional Carry and the Heartbeat Act.
Casar tried to secure the mayor pro-tem position earlier this year but failed.
He campaigned against both the public camping ban reinstatement back in May and this November’s police staffing proposition — the latter of which failed overwhelmingly this week at the ballot box.
For his congressional run, Casar has the endorsement of Austin Mayor Steve Adler; Austin City Councilwomen Natasha Harper-Madison, Ann Kitchen, and Paige Ellis; perennial Democratic candidate Wendy Davis; Travis County District Attorney José Garza; and San Antonio City Councilwoman Teri Castillo.
Due to state law, local elected officials must resign their positions to run for other office. Casar’s replacement on council will be chosen in a special election to come.
The congressional district stretches from the eastern part of Travis County through the eastern parts of Comal and Hays counties and down into San Antonio in Bexar County. According to The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index, the 35th Congressional District is solidly blue, rated a D-73% district.
With no incumbent, the race for that congressional seat will likely be a free-for-all going into next year.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.