AUSTIN (KXAN) — When you go to the polls in November, a race for Congress will be near the top of your ballot. One race in central Texas could provide some insight into whether the “blue wave” of support for Democrats exists in the state.
Democrat Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar is challenging longtime Republican congressman John Carter in Congressional District 31. Hegar is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, where she earned the Distinguished Flying Cross medal and a Purple Heart for her service under fire.
Hegar says she believes that Carter is detached from the people he serves.
“I think he’s acting as if he’s already retired. In the military, we call that ‘R.O.A.D.’ – Retired on Active Duty – and that’s how he’s behaving,” Hegar said. “I think the people of this district are hungry for someone to represent them by engaging with them and collaborating with them,” she added.
Carter disagrees with Hegar’s claim that he’s removed from the voters and says there are only four weekends during his time in Congress where he hasn’t come home to his district from Washington, D.C.
“She doesn’t know anything about me. We’ve got eons of proof that I’m not out of touch,” Carter said.
District 31, which covers all of Williamson County and most of Bell County, has been held by Carter since 2002.
“Having eight terms in Congress is actually something, I think, that should make people not vote for him, let alone be a reason to vote for him,” Hegar said.
Carter says the fact that he’s been in office so long shows that constituents believe he represents their values.
“I’ve been representing this district for a very long time,” Carter said. “I’m the same person I was the first time I ever ran for office. I haven’t changed.”
The last day to register to vote is Oct. 9. Early voting in Texas begins Oct. 22 and election day is Nov. 6.