Upcoming primary election candidates discuss potentially historic campaign

This is the last week of early voting before the primary election on March 3. 

As the election approaches, students and community members are rallying and pledging support to candidates. Student organizations have worked hard preparing for the election, encouraging students to register to vote and get involved in local politics. 

Texas’ 25th Congressional District — which includes all of the UT campus — is likely to be competitive for the first time in at least a decade.

This trend mirrors Texas’ overall shift to being a competitive state. The close 2018 Senate race between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O’Rourke drew national attention, though O’Rourke ultimately lost the race. Cruz’s margin of victory, however, signaled to both parties that Texas politics are changing.

Texas’ 25th Congressional District is highly gerrymandered, stretching from East Austin to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2016, the district’s Republican representative Roger Williams enjoyed more than a 20% lead over Democratic challenger Kathi Thomas. In 2018, when he ran against Democrat Julie Oliver, his lead shrunk to 8.7%. 

This election cycle, Williams is seeking his fifth term as the district’s representative. Julie Oliver is running for the democratic nomination again, against democratic socialist Heidi Sloan. 

Both Oliver and Sloan have spent the primary campaign making their pitch to Austinites and UT students as to why they should be the person to challenge Williams. As campus turnout continues to increase along with the size of the youth vote, UT students could be critical in determining the outcome of the election.

In this forum, we asked both Oliver and Sloan to make their case to UT students. 

Julie Oliver talks about her motivation for protecting immigrants, her experience visiting Matamoros, Mexico and the pillars of her campaign. 

Heidi Sloan discusses her approach to politics, supporting the working class and making politics a place where everyone feels emboldened enough to participate. 

As always, if you have any thoughts on this topic or any other, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]