If you live in or around Austin, the conventional wisdom is you are stuck with Lloyd Doggett as your Congressman. The former trial lawyer and lifelong politico (he served in the Texas Senate before running for US Congress) has been "representing" the people of Austin in Washington for 16 years now. I put "representing" in quotation marks because he fled a town hall rather than take confrontational questions from his constituents. And I can honestly say that while Austin is a liberal town, that liberalism mostly applies to social issues. We are pro-growth, pro-business, pro-development, and pro-tax relief. As a result, many businesses have moved here and our downtown has been revitalized. Yet Lloyd Doggett never met a tax cut he liked and repeatedly votes for increased government debt and spending. He also goes digging for ways to make businesses pay more taxes, thus killing jobs and causing consumer goods to increase in price. The man is a multi-millionaire and ranks as one of the richest men in Congress, but he's spent the last 20+ years in public service. Kind of makes you wonder where he gets his money from.
Most Republicans have written district 25 off and no doubt Democrats have taken victory there for granted. However, I am convinced that the district won't stay that way for long. There are several reasons I believe that Lloyd Doggett could lose in 2010 and even if he ekes out a victory, 2012 will be no cake walk either.
First of all, the district was redrawn in 2004 and now includes a heavy chunk of Austin suburbia. In fact, the towns just south of Austin have grown nearly 400% since the last election. Hayes County has exploded with growth because it's more affordable than living in Austin, and a lot of these voters are conservative.
Secondly, there is a strong anti-incumbent mood sweeping the country. Being in office 16 years makes Doggett seem like part of the problem, not the solution. He has been there while our national debt has grown out of control and unsustainable. It certainly doesn't help that Doggett votes with Speaker Nancy Pelosi 97% of the time.
Third, while he easily won in 2008, he gave up more votes to his opponent than he ever had in his previous seven elections. This opponent was not exactly formidable, ran very little advertising, got no backing from the Republican party, and spent less than $40,000 compared to $500,000 spent by Doggett.
Finally, he faces a very tough challenger this year. Dr. Donna Campbell is a formidable opponent. She has attracted the attention of many conservative groups, in and out of Texas. One group in particular is featuring her in a reality show about first-time candidates. She has already raised five times more money from individual donors than Doggett's last opponent raised. The name Campbell on the ballot in a town that gave us Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell also doesn't hurt.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been doing some volunteer work for Dr. Campbell, but I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't think she had a chance to win. You can go to her website at www.drdonnaforcongress.com or add her on facebook. I would also suggest contacting the RCCC, RNC, HuckPAC, or SarahPAC to tell them this race is winnable and Dr. Campbell deserves her share of support and financial resources.