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A Craddick Loyalist on the Line By ELIZABETH PIERSON HERNANDEZ In District 73, Nathan MaCias may face another squeaker Nathan Macias photo courtesy of Given how state Rep. Nathan Macias won two years ago, it’s not surprising a serious GOP challenger has come forward in the primary. In 2006, Macias edged incumbent Rep. Carter Casteel by just 46 votes. He funded his campaign almost entirely with money from San Antonio physician James Leininger, the state’s most powerful advocate for school vouchers. Leininger is revered among home-schooling families in the districtMacias, his wife, and their seven children among themand is a key financial backer of Speaker Tom Craddick. Macias faces Doug Miller, who’s been around the district for years. The New Braunfels native runs Miller and Miller insurance agency, is involved in a long list of civic organizations, and served on the New Braunfels City Council, including a stint as mayor, from 1987 to 1990. The fast-growing House District 73 is a picture of old-meetsnew, of urban issues colliding with rural history. There are the booming areas of New Braunfels and Canyon Lake, and smaller, politically active towns such as Fredericksburg and Boerne. The district also includes parts of San Antonio bedroom communities like Schertz and Selma. Macias carries the power of incumbency, his alliance with Craddick, and the support of conservatives. He is from Bulverde, north of San Antonio. The Houston law firm of Allen Boone Humphries Robinson, a frequent donor to Craddick, and San Antonio engineer Edwin Ford are among his contributors. Macias stayed by Craddick’s side during the last legislative session, when other Republicans challenged the speaker’s ruling that he couldn’t be unseated by a House vote. Macias walked on the voucher issue, failing to cast a vote when the bill was up. A Leininger spokesman didn’t respond to a request for an interview concerning the hospital bed magnate’s role in Macias’ campaign this time around. Opponent Miller is well versed in Hill Country water policy, a growing concern in the area. Residents fear San Antonio, with its explosive growth, will suck their springs dry. Miller worked with the Legislature in 1993 to help form the Edwards Aquifer Authority and is chairman of its board. Because Miller’s touched a lot:’ says Harvey Kronberg, a political observer and editor of the online newsletter The Quorum Report. Kronberg sees the race as one to watch. “‘While it’s suburban and it’s fast growth, it’s also got a lot of the rural, sit JANUARY 25, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19