Statesman profiles Matt Stillwell, HD-136 race

Posted in Election 2012, Williamson County at 10:14 pm by wcnews

Here’s the link to the article, Democrats look to Williamson County for potential new Texas House seat.

People tell Matt Stillwell they’re Democrats as if they’re afraid to admit it.

At least that’s what Stillwell — a Democratic candidate for a new state House district centered in southwestern Williamson County — said he’s found in his campaign to try to turn a chunk of the historically red county blue.

All county and state elected officeholders from Williamson County are Republicans. The party has long dominated the area. But Democrats are eyeing the new district as a potential weak spot in the Republican stronghold, counting it among a handful of districts they hope to take in November.

The race is a high priority, said Bill Brannon, executive director of the state Democratic Party.

“I would say it’s either top tier or very, very close to top tier — it’s a high target,” Brannon said. “It’s a race that presents a lot of opportunities.”

The Democrats hope that Stillwell, a father of three who owns an insurance agency and has never held elected office, can beat out Republican candidate Tony Dale and Libertarian Matthew Whittington for control of House District 136. The new district covers portions of Northwest Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock and the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District.


“Any time a Democrat tries to come into Williamson County and win, it’s going to be an uphill battle,” said Bill Gravell, a political consultant who has worked on campaigns in the county since the early 1990s. “I can’t think of a more formidable candidate than Tony Dale.”

Republicans currently hold 101 of the Texas House’s 150 seats — a supermajority that allowed the party to control the state’s budget during the last legislative session. They aren’t likely to keep such a strong hold on the chamber after redistricting redrew boundaries, creating new districts like the one in Williamson County. The Republican Party has said it expects its House membership to number in the mid-90s, while the state’s Democratic Party has said it envisions 84 Republicans and 66 Democrats.

Democrats say demographics in the newly drawn district provide an opportunity for the party.

According to data from the Williamson County Elections Department, more than a third of registered voters in the district live in Austin and nearly 20 percent of them are 30 or younger — a group that generally leans left.

Having seen Matt Stillwell speak a couple of times he is an impressive candidate. I would encourage everyone who it tired of politics as usual in Williamson County to get to know him. He’ll fight for education and be a breath of fresh air in the Texas Legislature in 2013.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.