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State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez challenges Casar in District 35 congressional race

State rep. Eddie Rodriguez has announced he will join the 2022 congressional race. (Eddie Rodriguez/Facebook)

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) announced Wednesday morning he is running for Congress in the District 35 race come 2022.

Rodriguez has served on the Texas House of Representatives for nearly 20 years, focusing on affordability, economic development, public education, environmental issues and gun safety. In a Twitter announcement, Rodriguez said he was "honored" to announce his congressional run.

"Working families, like the one I grew up in, need progressive leadership that will fight for educational and economic opportunities," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez is a Democrat who represented District 51 in the state house, making up southeast Austin. His ties to Austin run deep as he attended the University of Texas and currently lives in East Austin. In Congress' District 35, he would serve East Austin down I-35 to Northeast San Antonio.

Rodriguez follows fellow Dem Austin City Council Member Greg Casar, who announced his run last Thursday and said he would "fight and deliver" on issues including the power grid, abortion reform, raising wages and passing Medicare for All.

"Welcome to the race," Casar said on Rodriguez's announcement. "I am eager for the conversation with voters about who will truly fight and deliver on raising wages, passing Medicare for All, protecting reproductive health care and fixing our grid."

Casar's campaign said it has already raised more than $100,000 in the first three days of the campaign. He has also received support from elected officials and community members. Rodriguez's supporters are starting to flood in, including State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) and a more controversial Democrat, Cleo Petricek, co-founder of PAC Save Austin Now.

Austin community activist Claudia Zapata is also in the running for this seat. The seat opens up as Rep. Lloyd Doggett announced last month he is running for the new District 37.

No Republican candidate has thrown their hat in the ring, although Save Austin Now co-founder Matt Mackiowack said he "has not ruled out supporting a Casar opponent in the Congressional race," when discussing new plans for the group.

Rodriguez, Casar and Zapata will go head to head in the primaries come March before November's election.

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