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Trump, Twitter May Even Influence Texas Primary

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.

With just seven weeks until the primaries, candidates don’t have much time to distinguish themselves.

But one of the 18 names Republicans have to choose from received an unexpected boost from President Trump.

Robert Stovall, the former Bexar County Republican Chairman saw a tweet from a guy name Brad Parscale on Wednesday. Parscale had endorsed him on Twitter, and called Stovall the only “true Trump” Republican running in the 21st Congressional District’s primary election.

Stovall said he was over the moon.

“It’s obviously the closest thing I have to the president,” Stovall said.

That’s because Parscale isn’t just a fellow San Antonian, he was also the outspoken digital director of Trump’s presidential campaign.

Parscale said he wants to get the word out since Stovall was a big Trump supporter during the 2016 campaign.

“He was 100 percent in for Trump during the campaign and, he’s the kind of Republican from the area that I know will work really well with the president,” Parscale said. “And anyone I know from the area that isn’t going to be another ‘thorn in the side’ for the president is another win”.

Stovall said Republican voters in this district might equate some of Trump’s success with his own candidacy.

“Look at the economy, look at the unemployment, look at the stock market and all of that gets me up and excited every morning and I want to be a part of that,” Stovall said.

Professor Mark Jones with Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy said this endorsement could work for a candidate like Stovall.

“One characteristic that this race has is that is incredibly fragmented,” he said. “... We have close to 20 candidates running, so any recognition to help you rise above the herd is welcome recognition.”

But, Jones and other political experts said that game plan could also backfire,considering Trump’s low approval rating.

That tweet from Parscale also criticized another candidate in the race, State Rep. Jason Isaac, for aligning himself with Karl Rove, senior advisor to former President George W. Bush.

Mark Jones said depending on your flavor of Republicanism, an endorsement from Karl Rove might not be a bad thing.

“Anyone who knows Republican politics knows that Karl Rove has been a feature and somebody who’s very well respected,” Jones said. “Even if people don’t agree with 100 percent politically today, what they can’t deny is he got Republicans where they are today in Texas.”

While  Rove is putting together a fundraiser to benefit Isaac’s campaign, he insisted he doesn’t belong to anyone in Washington, past or present.

“I’m not Donald Trump’s candidate; I’m not anybody’s candidate except for the folks who live in Congressional District 21, and that’s what I want to be,” Isaac said.

The first day for early voting for the March primary is Feb. 20.

Ryan Poppe can be reached at rpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter @RyanPoppe

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.