Naked City

Krusee Faces Dem Write-In

Naked City

Another Democrat has decided to pick up the write-in sling and face off against a Republican Goliath in what conventional wisdom says is a GOP district. Karen Felthauser, a substitute teacher at Round Rock High School, says she will challenge incumbent state Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Round Rock, for his District 52 seat, which includes the bulk of Williamson Co. She will be following the example of UT math professor Lorenzo Sadun, who is mounting a similar write-in candidacy in the redrawn 10th Congressional District against anointed GOP candidate Michael McCaul.

"I've had Republicans call to help. They're not happy with the toll roads and education," Felthauser says. Krusee, chair of the House Transportation Committee, authored the legislation creating the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, whose $2.2 billion toll road plan was approved in July by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, on whose board Krusee also serves. "Education is my big emphasis, although I'm not too happy about the toll roads, either."

Like other Dems facing an uphill battle in Republican Texas, Felthauser tries to take an optimistic look at the numbers: "The south and southeastern half of the district" – nearest to, and in some cases within, the city of Austin – "has many precincts that have high Democratic turnout. [Democrats] are much more likely to take this half of the county than the north." The northern half of Williamson is represented by Dan Gattis, R-Georgetown.

"The numbers I'm looking at are from the last gubernatorial election [in 2002]. Maybe they're distorted by [Democratic lieutenant governor candidate] John Sharp, who was popular here, but it bodes well for us." (As was former Austin Mayor Kirk Watson, then running for attorney general.) "If we can't pull Democrats to the polls this year, I don't know when we can.

"People are disgusted with education issues," she says, noting that she and her husband's five children include a UT grad and current students at Texas Tech and Northern Arizona, and two more in high school. "People are distressed at the cost of a college education, and the state is not funding primary, secondary, or higher education." State leaders, she says, "need to start taking the view that education taxes are not an expense, they're an investment. ... I'm appalled at what the government thinks we can afford. We'll never be able to afford to retire. I guess we'll be door greeters at Wal-Mart."

Felthauser says she is still working with precinct chairs to obtain enough signatures to qualify as a write-in candidate, which she must do by Sept. 3. Felthauser's campaign may be reached by phone at 218-4943 e-mail at writeinfelthauser@austin.rr.com.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Election 2004, Karen Felthauser, Mike Krusee, Texas House of Representatives, District 52

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