HD 48: Rep. Donna Howard (D) vs. Dan Neil (R)

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Ed. note: The following is one of twenty races we are featuring in the Texas Political Report. Annie's List provided research and analysis for this race.

Candidate Pages: Rep. Donna Howard website, on Facebook
Candidate Pages: Dan Neil website, on Facebook, on Twitter

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
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



About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.

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