Lamar Smith | Texas Public Radio

Lamar Smith

Democrat Joseph Kopser, left, and Republican Chip Roy
Contributed Photos / Kopser Campaign/Roy Campaign

The race to replace long-standing Texas Congressman Lamar Smith is heating up between Republican Chip Roy and his Democratic rival Joseph Kopser. They faced off in a debate on Wednesday at Pearl Studios, hosted by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.


For the first time in decades, Democrats are energized about their chances to take a longtime-Republican congressional seat in Texas this fall.

Since the 1970s, the 21st Congressional District has been solidly in Republican hands. Incumbent Rep. Lamar Smith has held onto the district, which includes a large portion of Austin, for more than 30 years. But Smith is retiring at the end of this term — and with signs of a possible wave election for Democrats, Smith's exit has sparked hopes on the Democratic side.

Campaign Photos

The race for Congressional District 21 is headed for a runoff, and the candidates  — two Republicans and two Democrats — will have to ask their supporters to vote again in May .


Ryan Poppe

There are 18 Republican candidates running in an open Congressional District 21 primary. Sixteen of those 18 candidates met on Thursday night and tried to stand out from the crowd at a forum at the Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Game Ranch, south of Austin.


Campaign to Elect Robert Stovall

Texas has some crowded primaries this year. Take the Congressional District 21. Longtime Republican Congressman Lamar Smith is retiring, and 18 Republicans are vying to take his old place on the ballot.


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