CD 31: Austin’s Sixth District
It runs through Williamson County
Although often forgotten by voters and reporters, a section of the city of Austin resides in Williamson County. That area is part of Congressional District 31, the sixth of the districts that dissect the city, and has been represented by Republican Rep. John Carter since 2003. Carter's hard-right politics have played well in CD 31, which comprises Williamson and Bell Counties (compact and contiguous, unlike the other Travis County districts), and includes Fort Hood. The 2016 election was the first in which Carter polled less than 60%. Of the four Democrats who have filed for the March primary, two are veterans, and programs for veterans are a policy thread for all four.
Mike Clark (who lost to Carter in 2016) works in technology, emphasizes his long family roots in Texas, and prioritizes public education, immigration reform, and "Medicare for everyone." Mary Jennings "MJ" Hegar is an executive consultant after a decorated career as a veteran (three Afghanistan tours and a Purple Heart), recounted in her memoir, Shoot Like a Girl; her campaign promotes baseline Democratic policies on equity, education, and anti-discrimination via coy slogans: Protect Families, Preserve Freedom, Defend Our Nation. Kent Lester is a retired lieutenant colonel and educator emphasizing "old-school American values" (e.g., support for public education and universal health care). Dr. Christine Eady Mann (family practitioner) has run the most explicitly "progressive" campaign, emphasizing health care, the environment (e.g., climate protection), equity, and women's rights – and the growing Democratic determination to "Turn 31 Blue."
If one of these candidates can make a bigger dent in Carter's institutionalized complacency, it will bode well for Democrats across Texas.