by ROSS RAMSEY
The Texas Tribune
Michael Williams, who jumped from the U.S. Senate race to the congressional race in the new CD-33 in North Texas, says he’ll jump again: He’s running for Congress in CD-25, a district that stretches from Tarrant County all the way south to Hays County.
He said in a press release that people have been urging him to make the switch. In CD-33, he would have faced car dealer and former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams. He could face a crowd in the new race, possibly including state Rep. Sid Miller; political-consultant-turned-candidate Chad Wilbanks; and Dave Garrison, a former Halliburton and USAA exec who’s making his first foray into electoral politics. Garrison’s campaign website is up and running.
The district’s incumbent, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, is moving into another district for the next election; he’ll likely face state Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, in a district that’s more favorable to Democrats but is weighted to favor San Antonio over Austin.
This could all change: The state’s new congressional lines have been challenged in federal court, and hearings on those challenges are set for early September.
It’s a considerably larger piece of real estate. Where CD-33 has all of Parker County and parts of Tarrant and Wise Counties, CD-25 includes all or part of 13 counties, with the biggest populations in Travis, Hays and Coryell counties. (Congressional District 25 includes the western half of Hays County, encompassing Wimberley, Woodcreek and Dripping Springs).
Williams might claim Arlington as his home base, but he’s better known in Austin, where he’s been working for more than a decade. And there’s no declared candidate in that district.
That’s not because there’s no incumbent. U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, lives in CD-25, but it was drawn to elect a Republican, and he’s decided he’d rather switch than fight. Doggett plans to run in CD-35, which runs from Austin south to San Antonio. It’s got the advantage of being a Democratic district, and a disadvantage in that Doggett will face a Democratic primary against state Rep. Joaquin Castro, the twin brother of San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro.
But it clears the way for Williams, or anyone else. State Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, has looked at it, but prior to William’s announcement, he was using his Twitter account to encourage Williams to run. State Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, has been talking about it, but CD-25 includes only 17,534 people from Erath County, his home base. He’d be running without a strong geographic base and against a statewide elected official.
“He called me about a week ago and said he was being encouraged by congressional members to look at it,” Miller says. “I think that translates into Roger Williams calling on some congressmen to give him a call and see if they can get him out of his way.
“I don’t think it’s a secret my colleagues drew it for me to run in,” he says.
Miller says he is considering the race, and thinks he could beat Williams if it came to that. But he calls Williams a friend and also says he thinks everything could change. The districts themselves could be unstable; several lawsuits challenging the congressional district lines have been filed in federal court and set for hearing in September. Depending on what happens there, the lines could all change again this fall.
“Michael’s a good friend of mine,” Miller says. “I don’t wish him any ill will.”
ROSS RAMSEY is editor of the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.Email | Print