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Republicans won two closely watched Texas Congressional seats that national Democrats had seen as key for strengthening control of the U.S. House.
Unofficial results show Tony Gonzales, a Navy veteran seeking his first term for the 23rd Congressional District currently held by U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, achieving victory in a race that saw Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones out-raise her opponent by more than 250 percent
“We were outspent, but we weren’t out-worked,” Gonzales said in a Wednesday statement. “This district wants a Congressman who will show up, listen to them, and fight for them. That is what we offered.”
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As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, Gonzales had received 147,496 votes, or 51 percent, according to results reported by the Texas Secretary of State. Jones earned 135,415 votes, or 46 percent. Libertarian Beto Villela got 8,247 votes, or 3 percent.
The split was wide enough for the Gonzales campaign to claim victory before midnight Tuesday, with the Associated Press calling the race for Gonzales early Wednesday morning.
Gonzales’ margin of victory was wider than any of Hurd’s three wins in the sprawling district that stretches across 29 counties from San Antonio along most of the West Texas borderlands. Though many consider it a swing district, Republicans have managed to hold the seat since 2014, longer than any party since former GOP Congressman Henry Bonilla held the office from 1992 through 2006.
Jones, a former Air Force intelligence officer who lost to Hurd by only 0.5 percentage points in 2018, conceded the race in a statement early Wednesday thanking her supporters.
“While we came up short, I will always remain dedicated to serving our country and my community in any way I can,” Jones said. “I hope [CD23] is represented with all of her constituents in mind, and in a way in which she deserves.”
In Texas’ 21st Congressional District, another Democrat with a strong financial advantage also failed to outcompete her Republican rival.
Unofficial results on Wednesday also show U.S. Rep. Chip Roy likely winning a second term with 233,766 votes, or 52 percent, compared to former State Sen. Wendy Davis’ 203,028 votes, or 45 percent. Libertarian Arthur DiBianca received 8,555 votes, or 2 percent, and Green Party candidate Tommy Wakely garnered 3,517 votes, or 1 percent.
The results came after Davis had drawn national attention and media coverage, in part because of her 13-hour filibuster in 2013 as a state senator trying to block a bill that would have restricted abortion rights. Roy, a former prosecutor and top aide for several Texas GOP officials, including Sen. Ted Cruz, drew endorsements from several police unions and had cast Davis as part of a “radical leftist agenda.”
That kind of heated rhetoric characterized the final months of both the CD23 and CD21 races, where Roy and Gonzales had focused on their opponents’ outside support. Even in Bexar County, which voted 58 percent for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Roy and Gonzales both scored leads of greater than 2 percentage points.
The Davis campaign’s fundraising had nearly doubled that of Roy’s, yet voters in the mixed urban, suburban, and rural district that stretches from part of San Antonio, Austin, and the Interstate 35 corridor through much of the Hill Country, ultimately reconfirmed Roy for the seat formerly held by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, for more than three decades.
Davis conceded the race in a statement that came after Associated Press called the contest for Roy early Wednesday, saying she was “inspired by the young Texans I met throughout this campaign.”
“Change never comes easy, and I hope that young women and girls in Texas and around the country can take inspiration from this fight,” Davis said.
The Roy campaign did not respond to requests for comment.