This report has been updated throughout since we issued our Breaking News alert.
Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) announced he would forego re-election to run for Congress. Isaac will seek open CD21, the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio).
“I’m humbled that many of my constituents have asked me to run, and I look forward to discussing the issues as I campaign across the district,” Isaac said in a press release.
Only about a third of HD45 lies within CD21. The two districts share Blanco Co. and the central portion of Hays Co. Dripping Springs does not lie within CD21. That fact did not escape Democratic candidate Derrick Crowe. “The people of this district had an absentee representative for years in Lamar Smith,” Crowe said in a statement posted to his campaign’s web site. “The last thing they need is someone trying to replace him who doesn’t live in the district.
Isaac is serving his fourth term in the House after defeating former Rep. Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs) in the 2010 general election, 54%-46%. He is the 10th Republican state representative to announce plans to retire or seek another office.
A pair of Democrats, Driftwood rescue dog handler Elizabeth Bryant and Driftwood author Erin Zwiener, are the only candidates who have announced intentions to challenge Isaac.
In 2016, Donald Trump won HD45 over Hillary Clinton, 49%-44%. Democrats cut into the Republican straight-party advantage from 2012, but every Republican candidate in the district enjoyed a straight-party vote advantage of 3,773. Greg Abbott carried HD45 over Wendy Davis, 55%-42%, in 2014. No Democrat has run for HD45 since 2012, when Dripping Springs ISD trustee John Adams lost to Isaac, 54%-42%.
As for CD21, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added the district to its list of targeted districts for the 2018 mid-term elections. Recent voter trends in the district indicate the national group is being optimistic. In 2014, the Republican straight-party vote advantage was nearly 40K. It shrank to 29K in 2016, but that remains a significant hurdle to overcome.
Canyon Lake author and motivational speaker Eric Burkhart and Tomball (which is also not in the district) conservative media commentator Autry Pruitt have already announced plans to seek the Republican nomination. Former Olmos Park council member Jeff Judson, who unsuccessfully challenged Speaker Joe Straus in the 2016 Republican primary, and former San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz, who has lost three straight races for adjacent CD35, are exploring the race. At least six Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination. See our Federal Crib Sheet for details on all the candidates currently in the race.
©2017 Texas Election Source