2018 Elections: Runoff Set To Replace Lamar Smith In Congressional District 21

Mar 9, 2018

The race for Congressional District 21 is headed for a runoff, and the candidates  — two Republicans and two Democrats — will have to ask their supporters to vote again in May .

The Republican primary had 18 candidates, and the Democratic contest had four to replace outgoing Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, who has held the District 21 seat since 1987.

Mary Street Wilson received the most votes in the Democratic primary — about 30 percent. But she also raised the least amount of money in that primary – about $40,000, including a $25,000 personal loan to her own campaign.

“I’m the little engine that could, if you will,” she said. “I raised the least amount of money, and here I am.”

Wilson lives in Austin. She's a former math teacher, and now serves a minister for hospital patients and detainees. She says she wants to help people who are in crisis and in need.

“I think that in a country as wealthy as ours that health care is just a no-brainer,” she said. “We can do this, and we know how to do it.”

Finishing second with 28 percent in the Democratic primary is Joseph Kosper, also from Austin. He’s an Army vet and tech entrepreneur. He says he wants to serve his country again through public service.

“To fight for all the things we know to be right of how we treat people in terms of the issues and solving problems like immigration, making sure we do right by women’s health care, making sure we do right for workers in America, to fight for the middle class,” he said.

In the Republican primary, Matt McCall of Boerne finished second with 16 percent. He runs a company that provides human tissue for transplant to American military hospitals overseas. McCall has run against Lamar Smith twice in past primaries. He says the country faces a crisis of leadership.

“We’re at the end of an era of socialism, and we need to get back to being America and get back to our Constitution,” he said. “And I believe that the people want that, and we have a legislature full of men that are being cowards about taking bold action and getting us back there.”

Finishing first in the Republican primary is Chip Roy with 27 percent. Roy served as the vice president of strategy for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank. Calls to the Roy campaign for an interview were not immediately returned.

The four candidates will face off in their respective primaries on May 22. The district contains parts of northern San Antonio, the Hill Country, New Braunfels, and portions of the Austin area.

Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules