Rep. Lamar Smith needs 50 percent of the vote in next Tuesday’s Texas primary to avoid a runoff and all but guarantee a 14th term in the House. He’ll probably get it—there’s been no indication that far-right gadfly Richard Mack or Austin tech entrepreneur Richard Morgan pose much of a threat at this point.
On Monday, Test PAC, the project of a band of ticked-off Redditors upset at Smith for sponsoring the Stop Online Piracy Act, ran its first television ads in Austin and San Antonio, to go along with a billboard on Interstate 10. It was a small buy—just $10,200—but noteworthy in that it was the first time the online community had entered the campaign finance game. Now another group, Fight for the Future, founded in late 2011 to educate and mobilize Internet users about the perils of SOPA, is up with a billboard of its own. Or two billboards, rather—one of which is just down the street from Smith’s San Antonio district office. The kicker: Funding for the project came in part from Ben Huh, CEO and godfather of the I Can Haz Cheezburger empire. It’s surprisingly cat-free.
Fight for the Future co-founder Holmes Wilson says the group has no plans to get involved in the primary—but he’s hoping sooner or later Smith will get the message. “I guess he’s still in DC until the weekend, but hopefully he’ll come into work,” Wilson says. “Hopefully he’ll come into the San Antonio office sometime this weekend and get to see our billboard.”