District Overview: The Numbers, The Issues, and the Candidates
District 48 lies primarily in the western half of Travis County and includes parts of the city of Austin and the Westlake Hills area. A liberal-leaning county where Democrats strongly outnumber Republicans, Obama won comfortably with 53% of the vote in 2008. However, western Travis County is home to one of the larger conservative factions in the area. Like many districts, it was drawn to benefit Republicans, who represented the seat until 2005, when Rep. Howard won a tough special election, part of a string of 6 election victories that earned her two twerms in the Legislature.
Howard is a life-long educator and nurse who grew up in Austin. Her Republican opponent, Dan Neil, is a former All-American lineman and NFL player who hasn’t said much – about anything, at all. He posted a poor showing on his June 30th Finance Report and then created a small stir by being kicked off his sports radio show on 104.9, The Horn, blaming it on Rep. Howard. In fact, the radio station came to Rep. Howard to inform of her the FCC Equal Time Rule. That's about all that's happened in this race, which means — nothing has happened. Rep. Howard is defining the issues, concentrating on her legislative successes, including legislation she passed requiring the largely right-wing and highly partisan State Board of Education to stream their meetings over the internet, a hot-button issue this cycle.
Why Rep. Donna Howard Will Return Next Year
Rep. Howard has incumbency, popularity, the resources and a well-organized, professional team all on her side. She’s well-tested and versed in campaigning, and Republicans have all but quit running serious races in Travis County.
June 30 Campaign Finance Report:
|HD 48: Howard vs. Neil||Contributions||Expenditures ||Cash on Hand |
|Rep. Donna Howard (D)||$120,708||$29,110||$212,974|
|Dan Neil (R)||$40,694||$29,699||$10,978|
|Howard's Advantage ||$80,014||–||$202,026|