Dems Vie for Incumbent Rep. John Carter’s Round Rock Seat
North of Austin, a range of liberals in TX-31 contest
In our ongoing coverage of next year's races for U.S. Congress, the last time we checked in with TX-31 – Bell and Williamson counties, the latter including a growing chunk of Austin – there were six Democrats running in the March primary. That number is now eight, a sign that incumbent Rep. John Carter is increasingly seen as vulnerable. After winning eight easy races by double digits over token opposition, in 2018 Carter bested MJ Hegar (now running for U.S. Senate) by only 2.9%. Here's a snapshot of the current Democratic field:
• Christine Eady Mann (christine4congress.com) ran in 2018 (losing to Hegar in the primary run-off) and resumed her campaign when Hegar opted to challenge Sen. John Cornyn this cycle. Eady Mann is a family practice physician, and her candidacy emphasizes health care – advocating universal coverage via an expansion of Medicare and Medicaid, a "public option" plan in the Affordable Care Act exchanges, and an eventual transition to a single-payer system. (Other issues: LGBTQ rights, women's rights, education, environment.)
• Murray Holcomb (murrayholcomb.com) is also a physician, and a trauma surgeon with Ascension Seton hospitals. He also cites health care reform as a priority, advocating a transition to a "single-payer universal system" through expanding Medicare and a public option, although with some continuing, undefined role for "the private sector." (Other issues: immigration reform, gun safety, environmental protection.)
• Donna Imam (votefordonna.com), a computer engineer, has served on the board of ProductCamp Austin, a nonprofit that hosts educational events for product managers. Her campaign features "Health Care for All" (moving toward single-payer), "Education for All" (reducing higher education costs), and "Real Pay for All" (promoting living wages).
• Omar Kadir (omar31.com) is an accountant who ran for Williamson County Treasurer in 2018. He supports Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and "Vote for Our Lives," a movement aimed at boosting the youth vote to reduce gun violence.
• Jeremiah Landin (landinforcongress.com) is a recent college graduate currently working at a tech company call center. He's emphasizing his youth and running as an LGBT/Latino candidate, campaigning to bring down pharmaceutical costs, end mandatory minimum sentencing, and support immigration reform and congressional term limits.
• Jon Curtis (curtis2020.org) is a small online business owner with a background in corrections and code enforcement. His priority issues include Medicare for All, education (relieving student loan debt), and living wages.
• Eric Hanke (hankefortexas.com) is a singer/songwriter with a day job as a retirement counselor for public employees. He supports campaign finance reform, better gun regulation, opening Medicare to choice, reproductive choice, and fully funding Social Security.
• Jeremy Bravo (bravoforcongress.com) joined the candidate list a few days ago; he describes his professional career as "helping organizations and individuals use the momentum of change for growth and improvement." His initial campaign profile is thin – he's working "together for Texas," opposes gun violence, and says he'll "listen to his constituents."
Of the eight declared Democrats, only two – Eady Mann and Holcomb – have thus far raised and spent substantial sums; the others have reported few financial resources or are recent entries without a Federal Election Commission filing. Carter has also drawn three Republican primary challengers: Mike Williams (a "constitutionalist" running on a self-designed "Contract With America 2020"); John Bohlin (football coach and evangelical Christian), and Abhiram Garapati (an Indian immigrant and commercial real estate investor, running on a traditional Republican platform).