SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio is blessed with five congressional districts, a fact that guarantees the city and county abundant representation.
Our recommendations for each of these districts:
Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat representing Congressional District 20, has served ably in his first term. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, he has been a solid advocate for area military installations. And on immigration, he has taken mature stances that set him apart from much of the get-tough rhetoric in the House and in much of the Texas delegation. He is challenged by Libertarian Jeffrey Blunt. Castro deserves a second term.
In District 21, GOP Rep. Lamar Smith has similarly failed to attract general election opposition from the other major party. While we disagree with Smith consistently on immigration and, more recently, on the need for urgency on climate change, there is something to be said for keeping a level of seniority for this area in the U.S. House. He is chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. His opponents are Libertarian Ryan Shields and Green Party candidate Antonio Diaz. We recommend Smith as a good fit for his district.
In one of the more closely watched House races in the nation, incumbent Democrat Pete Gallego is being challenged by Will Hurd, a former CIA officer, in District 23. The Republican Party and special interest groups have thrown a lot against Gallego, and Hurd is a credible candidate but, when you slice through the campaign rhetoric, the incumbent is a moderate Democrat who ably reflects his swing district. Gallego, a former Texas House member, also has legislative abilities that Hurd simply can’t match. The incumbent is valuable asset for San Antonio. Libertarian Ruben Corvalan is also in the race. We recommend Gallego.
Democrat Henry Cuellar of the 28th Congressional District has also been able to expertly thread the bipartisan needle, even crossing the aisle to partner with Sen. John Cornyn on legislation when Texas was faced with an overflow of Central American families with children. He is not an entirely predictable acolyte for either party, which makes him a rare — and valuable — commodity in the U.S. House. His opponents are Will Aikens, a Libertarian, and Green Party candidate Michael Cary. We recommend Cuellar.
One of our concerns about incumbent Lloyd Doggett in the 35th Congressional District two years ago was doubt about whether the Democrat could shift gears to represent a new district foisted on him that included San Antonio. His base has mostly been Austin. In redistricting, Republicans crafted a new district for him that amounted to a ploy to make him vulnerable to ouster, either by another Democrat in a primary or by a Republican in the general.
But, on representing his district, the veteran member of Congress overcame our doubts during these last two years. He has been a consistent presence in the San Antonio portion of his elongated district. And his positions — on immigration, minimum wage and education, for instance — likely reflect the district better than those of Republican Susan Narvaiz, a former mayor of San Marcos.
Narvaiz is a credible candidate, but her opposition to a carbon tax to combat climate change and her desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act are simply bad ideas. She acknowledges that our immigration system is broken, but one of her default positions is that the president could do more to secure the border, arguably more secure than it has ever been.
Libertarian Cory Bruner and Green Party candidate Kat Swift also are on the ballot. There is a clear choice in this district and we recommend Doggett. He is still a partisan warrior but an able representative of his district, one crafted simply because he was a thorn in the Republican side.