Greg Casar declares victory in Democratic primary for congressional seat in District 35

Former Austin City Council member Greg Casar, a controversial force in city politics, declared victory based on his early vote returns Tuesday night in his congressional race.

Casar had a commanding lead over state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez about an hour after polls closed. The 35th District, which stretches from East Austin along the eastern side of Interstate 35 and into San Antonio, is overwhelmingly Democratic. The primary contest likely determined the outcome of this race.

Casar declared victory shortly after 8 p.m.

"Our campaign has built a movement of working people, from San Antonio to Austin, who are ready to fight because our futures depend on it. I’m incredibly honored to be the next Democratic nominee for TX-35," Casar said. "Together, we’re taking our fight to the halls of Congress — to fight and deliver on passing Medicare for All, protecting reproductive rights, creating good jobs and fixing our power grid."

"Progressive policies are popular. And we’re going to pass them for Texas working families."

Casar will be among the most progressive members of Congress ever to serve from Texas. During his tenure on the City Council, he was best known for supporting cuts to the police department and his fight against encampment bans, which translated into homeless citizens living in tents in public parks and under I-35 bridges.

He had the backing of prominent progressives like U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but also the support of prominent locals like Austin Mayor Steve Adler and former state Sen. Wendy Davis.

Rodriguez, his most competitive rival, ran hard against him, warning that Casar’s policies would set off GOP backlashes, like Gov. Greg Abbott’s successful initiatives to reverse the Austin City Council actions at the statewide level. But Rodriguez lagged behind in fundraising and enthusiasm. He did, however, have the support of Austin and San Antonio Democratic state legislators.

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