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CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.
District Profile from Politics in America
The 21st is a Republican, mainly urban and suburban district that takes in most of San Antonio and part of Austin and also extends westward to scoop up some of Texas' rugged Hill Country. Overall, the fast-growing district, which is among the nation's most-populous ahead of decennial remapping, is almost 60 percent white with an increasingly Hispanic population.
A slight majority of district residents live in Bexar (pronounced BEAR) County in the GOP-leaning north and northeast parts of San Antonio and its suburbs. The district also includes employment anchors San Antonio International Airport and Fort Sam Houston, which is part of the newly realigned Joint Base San Antonio. Canyon Lake is a popular recreation spot in the eastern portion of the 21st.
Roughly one-fifth of district residents live in Austin's burgeoning Travis County. The 21st's share of the county encompasses the main University of Texas campus and parts of downtown Austin, including the Capitol and governor's mansion as well as the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. The 21st also takes in some wealthy suburbs and rural areas in western Travis County, including Lake Travis and surrounding attractions.
Comal County, located northeast of San Antonio, makes up only one-eighth of the district's population, but it adds to the district's GOP tilt. The 21st's share of the Texas Hill Country includes Bandera, Kerr and Real counties. The district favored Republican presidential candidate John McCain in 2008, giving him 58 percent of its vote.
Technology, government, higher education, defense
Joint Base San Antonio (shared with the 20th and 28th), 36,184 military, 15,945 civilian (2011)
San Antonio (pt.), 309,139; Austin (pt.), 100,663; New Braunfels (pt.), 47,586
Bandera bills itself the cowboy capital of the world; Austin is home to North America's largest urban colony of Mexican free-tailed bats.
|2010||general||Lamar Smith (R)||162,924||68.9%|
|Lainey Melnick (D)||65,927||27.9%|
|James Strohm (LIBERT)||7,694||3.2%|
|2008||general||Lamar Smith (R)||243,471||80%|
|James Stohm (LIBERT)||60,879||20%|
|2006||general||Lamar Smith (R)||122,486||60.1%|
|John Courage (D)||49,957||24.5%|
|Gene Kelly (D)||18,355||9%|
|Tommy Calvert (I)||5,280||2.6%|
|James Strohm (LIBERT)||4,076||2%|
|James Peterson (I)||2,189||1.1%|
|Mark Rossano (I)||1,439||0.7%|
|2004||general||Lamar Smith (R)||209,774||61.5%|
|Rhett Smith (D)||121,129||35.5%|
|Jason Pratt (LIBERT)||10,216||3%|
|2002||general||Lamar Smith (R)||161,836||72.9%|
|John Courage (D)||56,206||25.3%|
|DG Roberts (LIBERT)||4,051||1.8%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 41%||John McCain: 58%|
|2004||John Kerry: 34.2%||George W. Bush: 65.8%|
|2000||Al Gore: 30.6%||George W. Bush: 69.4%|