TX-35: Lloyd Doggett vs. David Smalling
“Maximum effort everywhere”
Precisely because of Republican gerrymandering, Doggett does not face a competitive race in his district, anchored in San Antonio, narrowly running up I-35 to Austin, and heavily Democratic. He has a token GOP opponent – electrician David Smalling – but no real prospect of losing his race.
Doggett's campaign energies are primarily devoted to helping other Democrats, and he says he is as much concerned about Texas legislative races as he is about the congressional delegation. "About seven of the congressional races are closely competitive," he says, "and if we're to be successful, it will require maximum effort everywhere. Out of this, we're going to have two or three Democratic additions to the delegation, and we desperately need them."
He cited Kopser and Hegar as potential victors, "because of the resources that they've allocated." He praised Siegel and Oliver for their energy and intensity, while acknowledging "those districts are incredibly uphill." He mentions other candidates and districts: Lizzie Fletcher (TX-7); Colin Allred (TX-32); Todd Litton (TX-2). And he adds that Democratic voters need to understand that different districts require different candidates: "A candidate representing Fredericksburg or Belton or Killeen may not be able to vote exactly the same way ... as somebody from Austin – but as a Democrat, they'll be an immense help to us up here in Congress."
That's by way of considering downballot candidates north of the city. "It all interacts," he says, meaning races up-ballot and down. "I'm very encouraged about what great candidates, good times – and Austin housing prices – have done for Democratic possibilities in Williamson County." Plugs follow, for Round Rock's Jimmy Talarico (Texas House District 52), Cedar Park's John Bucy (HD 136), and Southwest Travis County's Vikki Goodwin (HD 47).
Back to Congress: "The only hope we have of stopping Donald Trump," Doggett reiterates, "or restraining him at all, is if we get more Democrats up here." As difficult as the gerrymandered districts are, he says, "Times are changing, and we're changing them by our involvement, and by the great organizer that all Trump's lies represent."
Doggett belongs to the House Progressive Caucus but says Democratic voters must realize, after so many years in the minority, that "only electing people who vote with us most of the time ... will help restrain Trump.
"There are many other issues that I care about," he concludes, "from immigration, to fighting drug companies, to education. ... But the most overriding is, can Donald Trump be restrained, or will he continue to erode and destroy our democracy?"
TX-35 Snapshot: "Solid D"
FiveThirtyEight odds of D win: 99.9%
David Smalling: "A life-long Republican, National Rifle Association Life Member, and has his membership in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers."
Other candidates: Clark Patterson (Libertarian)
Money race (as of June 30):
Doggett: $608,000 raised, $4 million cash on hand
Smalling: $29,000 raised, $6,000 COH