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Wentworth to Run for Re-Election

Senator ends retirement speculation
Lee Nichols, 11:03am, Mon. Aug. 22, 2011
photo by John Anderson
State Sen. Jeff Wentworth
Veteran State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio – whose district includes parts of south Austin – announced this morning that he will run for re-election in 2012.

“I am a fighter for my constituents, who are my bosses,” Wentworth said in a press release. “I am running for re-election to continue to fight for our district and to preserve the Texas way of life of conservative freedoms with no state income tax.”

Of course, that district will be a bit different from the one he currently represents, thanks to this year’s redistricting. But it’s still unsettled as to exactly how that district will be shaped – all of the redistricting plans that passed the 82nd Legislature are currently under court challenge (an issue that will be explored in greater detail in this week’s Chronicle, which comes out on Thursday).

If the proposed plan is upheld, Wentworth’s Dist. 25 will include much less of Austin than it does now. Basically, neighborhoods along South Lamar, Manchaca Road, and the northern part of Brodie Lane (as well as the community of Sunset Valley) were removed from Wentworth and switched into Kirk Watson’s Dist. 14. Also, the communities of Creedmoor and Mustang Ridge were moved into the Dist. 21 of Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo (!).

If he’s re-elected, Wentworth’s Travis County constituents would still include a good portion of Oak Hill, and the San Leanna community. The rest of Dist. 25 will include all or parts of Hays, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, and Bexar counties.

The announcement presumably puts to rest speculation about Wentworth’s retirement. Last year, Wentworth applied for but did not get the job as chancellor of the Texas State University System, and also considered taking a job as a vice chancellor with the Texas A&M University System.

It does not guarantee re-election, though. Wentworth, widely considered a moderate, sometimes receives challenges from the right in Republican primaries. In 2002, he narrowly survived the primary with 51% of the vote.

Next year’s election will mark a substantial change for Travis in the state Senate. We’ve had two senators since 1992, the first year district lines split us up. Next year – again, assuming the plan stands up in court – Travis will be divided four ways. In addition to the three aforementioned districts, the southwest corner of the county will fall into the Dist. 24 of Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay.

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