U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (right).
U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (right). Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

With 12 days until Election Day, Rep. Chip Roy is fighting to keep his seat for U.S. House District 21. Locked in a tight race against Democratic opponent Wendy Davis, Roy held a “Rally for Veterans” in Bulverde on Wednesday just north of San Antonio, where he and former Gov. Rick Perry addressed a crowd of more than 100 attendees. 

Roy, a freshman Republican, encouraged the crowd present at Tejas Rodeo Company to “each grab 10 friends and make sure they’ve voted.” Popular within District 21’s conservative rural counties, Roy is depending heavily on voters outside of San Antonio and Austin to show up at the polls. 

“This election could be decided by a few hundred of us,” Roy said. “Let me be very clear – Wendy Davis could win this race.” 

While the race is close, Roy said he feels confident he will win.

“I think we’re in the driver’s seat in a good spot,” Roy told the San Antonio Report following the conclusion of the rally. 

Perry, who served in the U.S. Air Force for five years in the 1970s, touted Roy as a champion for veterans, promoting Roy’s membership on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Davis, on the other hand, threatens the freedoms – such as the Second Amendment – veterans enjoy, Perry added. 

“If Democrats take over … there will be chaos,” he said. “Many of you went to serve this country because you love this country, and I’ll be damned if I let anyone take that away from us.”

In the middle of his 12-minute speech, Perry asked all veterans to come to the front of the stage for a photo. Almost half of all attendees came forward and joined Perry and Roy. 

Perry said he believes Republicans will do what it takes to help Roy secure the seat, and asked the audience members to “drive, walk, or roll in a wheelbarrow” with their friends and family members to the polls. 

Prior to Roy taking center stage, Texas Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) and U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Tennessee), both veterans, spoke to the crowd about why they support the former federal prosecutor. Birdwell called Roy, a cancer survivor, “tough” and said he is able to make difficult decisions in his office. 

A crowd of more than a hundred attendees, most without masks, gathered for the Rally for Veterans in Bulverde on Wednesday. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

In 2018, Roy won the seat vacated by Republican Lamar Smith, who held the office for 32 years. Roy’s district encompasses the majority of San Antonio’s North Side and includes a large portion of southern and western Austin in Travis County, along with Bandera, Blanco, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr, and Real counties, most of Comal County, and much of Hays County.

Davis, a former Texas state senator known for her 11-hour filibuster in 2013 of a bill to restrict abortion rights, is currently neck-and-neck with Roy in polls. The most recent, released Sept. 3 by Democratic-affiliated pollsters Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, had Davis beating Roy by only 1 percentage point, well within the poll’s margin of error of 5 percentage points.

Despite her loss in a run for Texas governor in 2014, Davis continues to possess statewide name recognition and is hoping to flip the seat. She has vastly outraised Roy, according to the most recent campaign finance filings. 

As of June 30, the Davis campaign brought in $4.5 million, according to federal election data. Roy, a former top aide to prominent officials such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, had raised $2.6 million.

The two faced off in a debate earlier this month, with Davis calling Paxton Roy’s “buddy” despite Roy’s recent call for Paxton to resign after top AG’s office staff accused Paxton of criminal wrongdoing as part of Paxton’s relationship with Austin investor Nate Paul. For more than five years, Paxton also has awaited trial on felony securities fraud charges.

At the rally, Roy said Davis “will do whatever it takes” to win his seat.

“I’m asking you to do everything you can over the next 12 days to ensure that we get this done,” Roy said.

Lindsey Carnett covers the environment, science and utilities for the San Antonio Report. A native San Antonian, she graduated from Texas A&M University in 2016 with a degree in telecommunication media...