One in a series about elections for the Texas House of Representatives.
State Rep. Morgan Meyer says the district he represents is centrist.
Because of that, the Republican lawmaker said he’s focused his five years in Austin on middle-of-the-road issues where he can work across the aisle with Democrats.
“We are not far to the left, we are not far to the right,” he said. “We are right in the middle.”
But his Democratic opponent Joanna Cattanach says that old line won’t work. House District 108 — which spans the Park Cities, Uptown, parts of downtown and Old East Dallas — has moved politically to the left and Meyer is “out of touch” with its needs on issues like access to abortion and preventing gun violence.
After coming within 220 votes of ousting Meyer two years ago, Cattanach said she’s back to finish the job in November.
“The issues that I fought for in 2018, did not change,” she said. “The district has become, frankly, even more socially liberal on many of these issues and they do want change.”
The political rematch is one of the most closely watched races in the November elections, partially because the district is one of the Democrats’ top targets this year.
The outcome could also have deeper implications for the battle for the Texas House, as Democrats try to take the chamber for the first time since 2001. Such a victory could dramatically alter the political landscape in Texas.
What’s the right fit for the district?
Meyer, a 46-year-old attorney, said the district’s politics remain the same as when he was elected. If voters need proof, just look at the last election.
In 2018, the district voted against Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Pete Sessions by more than 10 percentage points in their Senate and congressional races. Don Huffines, the Republican state senator that covered his district, was swept out of office.
But the district stuck with Meyer. Meyer said that’s because he’s worked well with other lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation like protecting special needs students in schools and criminalizing the unsolicited electronic sending of lewd pictures.
“I have the experience to do it and have shown over my entire career, the ability to work across the aisle with Democrats and Republicans to tackle the most serious issues of this state,” he said.
As a member of the public education committee last session, he said, he played a key role in the state’s marquee school finance bill, which increased school funding by $4.5 billion and put an additional $2 billion towards teacher pay raises.
“Those are the results my constituents want to see,” he said.
But Cattanach, a 39-year-old journalism professor and former reporter for The Dallas Morning News, said the voters she talks to are concerned about Meyer’s record on guns, access to abortion and other social issues.
In 2015, Meyer supported the “campus carry” bill which would allow people with a handgun license to conceal carry a weapon in most