Feb 9, 2022 - News

Campaign ads hit the airwaves in Austin congressional race

Map of Texas congressional districts
Courtesy of Texas Legislative Council

The advertising wars are heating up in a Democratic primary for an Austin congressional seat.

Driving the news: Former Austin City Council Member Greg Casar on Tuesday launched a six-figure ad buy that will run districtwide as he faces off against Texas Rep. Eddie Rodriguez.

  • The 35th District runs from eastern Travis County to San Antonio along a narrow strip of Interstate 35.

Catch up quick: The winner of the Democratic primary is very likely to win the general election in this massively Democratic district.

What they show: Casar's upbeat new ad, titled "A Bold Agenda for Working Families," hails his efforts on behalf of construction workers, in favor of paid sick leave and raising the minimum wage.

  • Rodriguez's ad, released Monday, is a take on the Dos Equis commercials.
  • Highlighting his opposition to the Iraq War and work with other Democrats to promote voting rights, the spot describes Rodriguez as "the most interesting candidate for Congress."
  • "Vote Eddie, my friends," it concludes.

Of note: Both candidates promote their defense of a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Plus: While neither mentions the other in the ads, a Rodriguez mailer attacks Casar for having "designed the disastrous ordinance lifting the ban on tent cities in Austin."

  • In 2019, Casar led the effort, at least in part on humanitarian grounds, to lift the citywide ban against public camping — an initiative later overturned by voters and state lawmakers.

By the numbers: Casar's campaign had $356,000 at the end of 2021, per filings with the Federal Election Commission.

  • Rodriguez's campaign had $220,000 on hand.
  • At least two other candidates have filed to run as Democrats, including Rebecca Viagran of San Antonio, who had $45,000 on hand.

What's next: Early voting for the March Democratic primary runs Feb. 14-25, with Election Day on March 1.

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