AUSTIN (KXAN) – Greg Casar is projected to fill the U.S. Congress seat for District 35 — which spans from northeast Austin to Central San Antonio.
This is the first election to take place since the congressional districts were redrawn by state legislators in 2021.
“I am so appreciative to be able to serve this community in United States Congress,” Casar said.
Casar received 129,084 votes (72.55%) to Republican Dan McQueen’s 48,831 (27.45%).
Casar told KXAN’s Will DuPree that he knows he’s in it “for the long haul,” when it comes to topics like codifying Roe v. Wade, tackling the climate crisis and raising wages.
“It’s going to take real work and real organizing and I’m committed to that for the long haul in this community because we know the progressive movement is alive and growing in Texas and we need to continue to build that if we want to be able to help everyday people who are struggling to make ends meet,” Casar said.
He said he will work with anyone in Congress “who wants to make sure we bring down the rent, to make sure we raise workers wages, to protect our democracy.”
How do I know if I’m in District 35?
The congressional district represents more than 800,000 residents. The district runs along I-35 and includes parts of the San Antonio metropolitan area, portions of Bexar County, thin strips of Comal and Hays counties, a portion of Caldwell County and portions of southern and eastern Austin in Travis County. To find out if your address falls into District 35, you can use this search tool.
Who’s on the ballot for District 35?
Since redistricting changes in 2020, Incumbent Representative Lloyd Doggett announced he will be running for the new, Austin-based District 37 instead of 35.
Self-proclaimed progressive and former Austin City Council member Greg Casar ran as the Democratic candidate. During his tenure on the City Council, he was known for his fight against homeless camping bans and his support for cuts to the city’s police budget.
Casar said his priorities in Congress will be investing in renewable energy, housing affordability, reproductive rights and healthcare access.
Casar’s republican opponent was veteran McQueen. Previously, McQueen was the Mayor of Corpus Christi in Texas. He assumed office in 2016 and resigned in 2017.
Where do the candidates stand on immigration, abortion access and gun reform?
KXAN spoke with both candidates about their platforms and asked where they stand on key issues for the election.
Over the past year, Texas has bused migrants out of the state and deployed the Texas National Guard along the Texas-Mexico border.
Casar: “The current [immigration] system is not a rational system. People that are coming fleeing violence. They have to apply for six years to have an asylum case really heard. Really, that process should be six weeks, so that if somebody has a real asylum case that can be given asylum, and if they don’t, then they can be turned away.”
McQueen: “We’re not really not taking care of those individuals that are coming here to be successful. I’ve talked about using the border as an economic development zone where we can commercialize that and allow businesses to build there, to have an adjusted wage, as we allow individuals who request to become Americans, as a vetting process.”
In 2022, Texas passed a law which banned abortions after “detection of embryonic cardiac activity,” unless the patient is facing a life-threatening physical condition due to the pregnancy. The ban does not include an exception for instances of rape or incest.
Casar: “My commitment on day one as a member of Congress is to sign onto the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would put Roe v. Wade back into law.”
McQueen: “I believe that life begins at conception. The state of Texas has made a decision. I support that.”
After the Uvalde school shooting claimed the lives of 19 children and two adults, there has been renewed debate around gun reform. Assault weapon bans, red flag laws and age requirement changes have all been points of discussion among legislators.
Casar: “I think we need to raise the age at a minimum and have red flag laws at a minimum.”
McQueen: “I don’t see anything right now that needs to be changed. Bad people are just bad people. In my view, it’s not about the gun.”
Why is this election historically significant?
This will be the first election to take place since Texas lawmakers drew new maps for the state House and Senate districts in 2021. Since the repeal of the Voter Rights Act, it is also the first time in 50 years that the state was not required to prove the new districts don’t dilute the electoral power of voters of color.
What changes were made to District 35 in 2021?
District 35 saw relatively minimal geographic changes since being redrawn in 2021. Western portions of Lockhart and Fentress are no longer part of the district. Southeastern portions of San Antonio are also no longer part the district. A large portion of Manor was added. The district also saw only minor changes to its demographics and political makeup. The district is still majority Democrat and the population is majority non-white at 58%.