People tell Matt Stillwell they're Democrats as if they're afraid to admit it.
At least that's what Stillwell — a Democratic candidate for a new state House district centered in southwestern Williamson County — said he's found in his campaign to try to turn a chunk of the historically red county blue.
All county and state elected officeholders from Williamson County are Republicans. The party has long dominated the area. But Democrats are eyeing the new district as a potential weak spot in the Republican stronghold, counting it among a handful of districts they hope to take in November.
The race is a high priority, said Bill Brannon, executive director of the state Democratic Party.
"I would say it's either top tier or very, very close to top tier — it's a high target," Brannon said.
"It's a race that presents a lot of opportunities."
The Democrats hope that Stillwell, a father of three who owns an insurance agency and has never held elected office, can beat out Republican candidate Tony Dale and Libertarian Matthew Whittington for control of House District 136. The new district covers portions of Northwest Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock and the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District.