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Political landscape changes with voter redistricting

by Cyndy Slovak-Barton

With the March Democratic and Republican primaries just around the corner, some voters might be looking for familiar names – but with the new maps signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott following the 2020 Census, several will no longer be a part of Hays County.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who currently represents Hays County as part of District 35, had his home redrawn into a district entirely within Travis County. His new district is now District 37. 

Doggett ran for former U.S. Rep. J.J. “Jake” Pickle’s congressional district when Pickle stepped down in 1995. 

Doggett’s current district (35) runs from east Travis County, through east Hays County, along I-35 and into San Antonio, and he has numerous candidates in both parties running against him for this district.

Congressman Chip Roy, who represents U.S. District 21 covering the western portion of Hays County, has filed to run again, with numerous opponents.

Congressman Roger Williams, who serves U.S. District 25, will no longer be a part of Hays County after the upcoming General Election in November 2022.

State Representative District 45 is currently represented by State Rep. Erin Zweiner (D), who beat Carrie Isaac (R) during the 2020 election. Zweiner has two opponents in the Democratic primary – Angela “Tia Angie” Villescaz and Jessica “Sirena” Mejía. Kyle resident and former Kyle council member Michelle Lopez has filed on the Republican ticket to face Zweiner. 

Isaac has now filed for District 73, which includes Gillespie, Kendall and Comal counties. District 73 had been represented by Kyle Biedermann, who announced in October 2021 that he would not run for re-election. Isaac has two opponents in the Republican Primary, and the winner in that primary will face Democrat Justin Calhoun.

In western Hays County, representing Pct. 4 on the Hays County Commissioners Court is incumbent Walt Smith. He is faced in the Republican primary by Joe Bateman. There is no Democrat running for this seat, so the winner of the March 2022 primary will take that seat.

Other familiar names who will be on the ballot include Beth Smith (D) incumbent for Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2. Her opponent in the Democratic Primary is Amaya Cuellar. No Republican is running for JP Pct. 2.

In the JP Pct. 5 position of Buda, Lucinda Doyle chose not to run. She had been appointed when former JP Scott Cary decided to step down. On the Democratic ticket, former Hays CISD school board member Sandra Bryant has tossed her name in the ring. She is the only Democrat running for this position and will face the winner of the Republican primary between Karen Marshall and Terry Strawn.

Mark Jones, who serves as County Commissioner of Precinct 2 (currently the Buda and Kyle area), is running on the Republican ticket for County Judge. He will face the winner of the primary race between Ruben Becerra (incumbent) and Brandon Burleson.

Finally, Wimberley resident and national political pundit and consultant Matthew Dowd pulled his name from the race for Texas Lieutenant Governor, citing a need for greater diversity on the ticket. Dowd filed on the Democratic ticket. He was the chief strategist for the George Bush 2004 presidential campaign.

Lots of shuffling has gone down during the previous few months, so stay tuned to the Hays Free Press and News-Dispatch for more political news.

The Primary is set for March 1, while the General Election is set for Nov. 8. The last day to apply for a ballot by mail (received, not postmarked) is Feb. 18. The application can be found on the Hays County elections website.

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