Three key Central Texas races for Democrats in effort to gain state House majority

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — All eyes are on Texas this Election Day — not just because polls show a dead heat race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Millions of dollars have been spent in the fight for control of the Texas House. While Democrats need to pick up nine seats to gain a majority, it’s just as important that they hold 12 districts that flipped from Republican to Democrat in 2018, including three in Central Texas.

If Democrats are able to gain a majority in the Texas House, they would earn a crucial seat at the table in redrawing the state’s political maps and possess a check to the Republican-held state Senate and governor’s office.  

House District 45

Democrat Erin Zwiener flipped House District 45 by a 2,300 vote margin in 2018, while O’Rourke won the district by 9,600 votes. The district includes fast-growing Hays and Blanco Counties and is a prime example of the suburban transformation of formerly Republican-held districts.

Zwiener faces Republican Carrie Isaac in the general election. Isaac is the wife of Jason Isaac, who held the seat until he decided to run for congress in 2018. According to her most recent filing with the Texas Ethics Commission, nearly $1 million was spent on her behalf over the past month. Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign spent $119,603 in support of Isaac over that period, second-most of all state House candidates.

House District 47

Democrat Vikki Goodwin, a realtor in Austin, flipped House District 47 in 2018 by 5,000 votes — O’Rourke won the district that year by more than 11,000. The district includes western and far south Travis County.

Goodwin faces Republican Justin Berry, a senior police officer with the Austin Police Dept. Berry received the most money from Abbott’s campaign last month at a total of $122,463, according to campaign finance records.

House District 52

Democrat James Talarico flipped House District 52 in Williamson County by a narrow 2,400 votes in 2018, a district O’Rourke won by more than 9,000 votes. Talarico is a former public school teacher.

Republican Lucio Valdez served in the U.S. Army for 33 years and is a former police officer.

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