2008 United States House of Representatives elections in Texas
All 32 Texas seats to the United States House of Representatives
|Turnout||13,575,062 - 45%|
|Elections in Texas|
The 2008 elections for the Texas delegation of the United States House of Representatives was held on November 4, 2008. 31 of 32 congressional seats that make up the state's delegation were contested. In Texas's 14th congressional district no one challenged incumbent Ron Paul. Since Representatives are elected for two-year terms, those elected will serve in the 111th United States Congress from January 4, 2009 until January 3, 2011.
- 1 Prior Delegation Facts
- 2 Overview
- 3 Congressional Districts
- 3.1 District 1
- 3.2 District 2
- 3.3 District 3
- 3.4 District 4
- 3.5 District 5
- 3.6 District 6
- 3.7 District 7
- 3.8 District 8
- 3.9 District 9
- 3.10 District 10
- 3.11 District 11
- 3.12 District 12
- 3.13 District 13
- 3.14 District 14
- 3.15 District 15
- 3.16 District 16
- 3.17 District 17
- 3.18 District 18
- 3.19 District 19
- 3.20 District 20
- 3.21 District 21
- 3.22 District 22
- 3.23 District 23
- 3.24 District 24
- 3.25 District 25
- 3.26 District 26
- 3.27 District 27
- 3.28 District 28
- 3.29 District 29
- 3.30 District 30
- 3.31 District 31
- 3.32 District 32
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Prior Delegation Facts
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- Women: The delegation comprises three women: two Democrats and one Republican.
- Ethnic minorities: Six Hispanics and three African-Americans, all Democrats, are part of the delegation.
- Regional breakdown:
- Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex: Nine representatives (8 Republicans and 1 Democrat). Districts 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, 24, 26, 30, 32.
- Greater Houston: Nine representatives (5 Republicans, 4 Democrats), eight of whom actually reside in that area; the ninth, Michael McCaul is from the Austin area.
- South Texas: Three representatives, all Hispanic Democrats, are from the Rio Grande Valley region, while three (2 Democrats, 1 Republican) are from the San Antonio area.
- Central and east Texas: These regions have several districts overlapping these regions. Three Republicans and one Democrat represent portions of the Austin area, while Democrat (Chet Edwards) represents a district that includes the Waco and Bryan-College Station areas, and Republican (Louie Gohmert) holds the lone East Texas district.
- West Texas and Texas Panhandle: Three Republicans and one Democrat make up this delegation. The Democrat, Silvestre Reyes, represents much of El Paso.
- Age: The average age of the Texas delegation is 61, with the oldest being Republican Ralph Hall (age 85 in 2008) and the youngest being Michael McCaul (age 46), a Republican. In 2008, five (including Hall) will be over the age of 70, 13 representatives will be in their 60s, and the remainder (with the exception of McCaul) will be in their 50s.
- Seniority: 17 representatives will have served at least six terms by the end of the 110th Congress, and five will have served at least ten terms, the most being Ralph Hall (14 terms). Republican Ron Paul and Democrats Nick Lampson and Ciro Rodriguez have served nonconsecutive tenures. One representative, Silvestre Reyes, is a committee chair (Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence).
|United States House of Representatives elections in Texas, 2008|
|Party||Votes||Percentage||Seats Before||Seats After||+/–|
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Sophomore Republican Louie Gohmert of Tyler was elected in 2004 following a controversial redistricting in 2003 by then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay that moved the district of incumbent Democrat Max Sandlin into a strongly Republican constituency. Sandlin was defeated by a 24-point margin in 2004, and Gohmert won in 2006 with 68% of the vote. The district is a purely East Texas one stretching from the Tyler and Longview-Marshall areas in the north to the Lufkin-Nacogdoches area due south. Gohmert was renominated, while no Democrats ran in the 2008 Primary. He won easily with 87.7% of the vote.
Republican Ted Poe of Humble was one of four Republicans who defeated a Democratic challenger (Nick Lampson, now representing District 22) in the 2004 elections. Poe won 56% of the vote in 2004 and 66% in 2006, making him one of only a handful of Republicans who gained from the previous election (In 2006, Democrats, who won control of the House from Republicans, generally improved on their 2004 margins). The district stretches from the northern Harris County and Houston suburbs of Spring and Kingwood to southern Liberty County and much of the Golden Triangle region. Poe was renominated, while no Democrats ran in the 2008 Primary. The Libertarian Party nominated Craig Wolfe. Poe won re-election with 88.9% of the vote.
Longtime Republican Sam Johnson of Plano was 78 in 2008 but chose not to retire. He won the Republican nomination. Tom Daley (campaign website) is the Democratic nominee and Christopher J. Claytor (campaign website) is the Libertarian nominee. Johnson was re-elected 59.8-38.0% over Claytor.
This district includes several northern and northeastern suburbs of Dallas, including southwestern Collin County (including Plano and McKinney) and northeastern Dallas County including large portions of Garland and Richardson, as well as some northern portions of Dallas itself. The district is heavily Caucasian, upper-middle class, and Republican, with incomes averaging around the $75,000 range.
Republican Ralph Hall of Rockwall, the oldest living member of the House of Representatives (he will be 85 in 2008), faced Democratic nominee Glenn Melancon. CQ Politics considered the race 'Safe Republican'.
Hall has represented the district since 1980, first elected as an "old-time" conservative Democrat before becoming a Republican in 2004. He won the 2008 Primary election, defeating foreign relations expert Joshua Kowert; businessman and NASCAR team owner Gene Christensen; and former Frisco mayor Kathy Seei. Hall defeated Melancon 68.8-29.3%.
Jeb Hensarling, a Republican from Dallas, was first elected in 2002 to a heavily Republican district comprising east Dallas and its neighboring suburbs, and stretching to the south and east to a number of small East Texas counties. A favorite among fiscal conservatives in Texas, Hensarling is a potential challenger for the U.S. Senate in 2012 should the incumbent Republican, Kay Bailey Hutchison, retire. In 2008, Hensarling is expected to win another term in this district despite recent Democratic gains in Dallas County. Hensarling was renominated, while no Democrats ran in the 2008 Primary. Hensaring was re-elected with 83.6% of the vote.
Twelve-term Republican Joe Barton of Ennis was the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee until Democrats took over the House in 2006. The district stretches from Arlington southward to several east central Texas counties all the way to Trinity County, which is west of Lufkin and is heavily Republican. Barton won the 2008 primary, and faced Democratic winner Ludwig Otto in the general election, which Barton won 62.0-35.6%.
Culberson won a surprisingly modest 59% of the vote in 2006 in what is otherwise a normally strong Republican district. He was still favored to win in 2008, given the 2006 anti-Republican trend and the normally Republican voting trend of this mainly suburban district, which is among the most affluent in the nation. Skelly, a former executive of Horizon Wind Energy, earned an MBA from Harvard after serving in the Peace Corps. He currently serves on Houston Mayor Bill White's Green Building Advisory Committee. Culberson defeated Skelly 55.9-42.3%.
The district, which was once represented by former President George H. W. Bush, includes much of heavily Republican west Houston—such as River Oaks, Uptown and Upper Kirby, Memorial/Spring Branch area, and the island cities of Bellaire, West University Place, and Jersey Village, as well as many unincorporated areas of northwest Harris County including a large chunk of the Cypress-Fairbanks area. The district also includes the heavily Democratic Neartown area. No Democrat has served this district since 1966, before the district was based in its current location.
- Race ranking and details from CQ Politics
- Campaign contributions from OpenSecrets.org
- Polling from Pollster.com
Republican Kevin Brady of The Woodlands represents a strongly GOP district centered on the northern suburbs and exurbs of Houston and Beaumont as well as the Huntsville and Lake Livingston areas, winning two-thirds of the vote in 2004 and 2006. The district was expected to remain in Republican hands; no Democrat has won this district since Jimmy Carter, the last Democrat to carry Texas in the presidential electoral college (in 1976), was president. Brady won the 2008 primary and faced Democrat Kent Hargett, whom he defeated 72.6-24.8%.
Sophomore Democrat Al Green was not expected to face a serious challenge in 2008 for his heavily Democratic district, which is situated in southwest Houston and includes Houston's Southside, as well as the Mission Bend and Alief areas (which have large Asian-American populations) and several heavily black and Hispanic northeastern neighborhoods of Missouri City. He was elected by a 3 to 1 margin in 2004 after defeating displaced incumbent Congressman and fellow Democrat Chris Bell in the primary (Bell was moved out of his previous district in the controversial 2003 redistricting engineered by then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay), and won a second term unopposed in 2006. Green was renominated, while no Republicans ran in the 2008 primary. Green was re-elected with 93.6% of the overall vote.
Incumbent Republican nominee Michael McCaul of Austin was challenged by Democratic nominee Larry Joe Doherty, a legal ethics attorney and former TV courtroom judge. CQ Politics considered this race 'Republican Favored'. In 2006, McCaul won only 55% of the vote against Democratic challenger, Ted Ankrum, and Libertarian Michael Badnarik. Ultimately McCaul won 53.9-43.1%.
- Race ranking and details from CQ Politics
- Campaign contributions from OpenSecrets.org
- Polling from Pollster.com
Midland Republican Mike Conaway represents George W. Bush's strongest district in the 2004 election. He won 77% of the vote in 2004 and was one of only a handful of Republicans who ran unopposed in 2006. Conaway's district stretches from the Midland and San Angelo areas to several mostly rural areas northwest of Austin. No Democrat ran in the 2008 primary and Conaway received 88.3% of the vote over minor party opposition.
Republican Kay Granger, who is considered a moderate by Texas Republican standards, won two-thirds of the vote in 2006, outperforming most of her fellow Texas Republican colleagues. The popular Fort Worth-based Granger was expected to win re-election in 2008 in this district comprising western areas of Fort Worth and surrounding areas. Granger defeated Democratic nominee Tracey Smith 67.6-30.6%.
Mac Thornberry represents this Texas Panhandle district that encompasses Amarillo and Wichita Falls. The Clarendon Republican won by a 3 to 1 margin in 2006 and faced only a Libertarian candidate in 2004. Thornberry defeated Democrat nominee Roger Waun 77.6-22.4%.
Republican Ron Paul is best known for his strong libertarian views. His slogan, "The Taxpayers' Best Friend", emphasizes his strong — and sometimes controversial — takes on fiscal conservatism, while his social policies, which includes ending the federal War on Drugs and legalizing marijuana, as well as his belief that the federal government should not be involved in wedge issues such as gay marriage, leading to a more negative nickname, "Dr. No", for his votes against much of the legislative agenda of both parties in Congress.
The 73-year-old physician is a resident of Surfside. Paul was a Republican candidate in the 2008 presidential election (his second, following his run as Libertarian Party nominee in 1988), and ran un-opposed for re-election.
In 2006, Ron Paul won 60% of the vote against Democratic opponent Shane Sklar, a young rancher and Executive Director of the Independent Cattlemen's Association of Texas (ICA) who ran on a promise to serve as a fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat and received a slightly more favorable rating from the NRA, in attempt to defeat the popular Paul. In 2008, Paul was renominated, while no Democrats ran in the primary. Libertarian Eugene J. Flynn filed to run on December 20, 2007. . The district extends from several far southern and southeastern areas of Houston, including Galveston and Brazoria County, to the Bay City, Wharton County, and Victoria areas.
Democrat Rubén Hinojosa of Mercedes won 62% of the vote in 2004 in a South Texas district that had to be realigned following a Supreme Court decision that made the neighboring 23rd District unconstitutional. Hinojosa, who was 68 in 2008, won the Democrat nomination and defeated Republican nominee Eddie Zamora 65.7-32.0%.
Democrat Silvestre Reyes represents El Paso and is the Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which could make him a target of some conservative Republicans over issues relating to immigration in spite of the fact that Reyes was a former border patrol agent. Still, the district remains overwhelmingly Democratic due to its large Hispanic population, and Reyes is popular with his constituents. He won two-thirds of the 2004 vote in a district that swung strongly in favor of John Kerry, and won with no Republican challenger in 2006. Reyes was renominated, while no Republican ran in the 2008 Primary. Reyes won re-election with 82.1% of the vote.
Democrat Chet Edwards has been targeted for defeat in many recent elections. His district is widely seen as arguably the most heavily Republican district held by a Democrat, and won a close election in 2004, but recovered in 2006 with a strong eighteen point win. The district, which includes the official residence of George W. Bush, stretches from several rural areas south of Fort Worth to Edwards' hometown of Waco and the Brazos Valley region, which comprises the Bryan-College Station area. This district gave George W. Bush 70% of the vote in 2004. Edwards won the 2008 Democratic nomination and defeated Republican nominee Rob Curnock 53.0-45.5%.
Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee represents one of the most heavily Democratic areas in the state, covering several largely poor and African-American areas of Houston (including downtown Houston) and whose three previous representatives (Barbara Jordan, Mickey Leland, and Craig Washington) were all African-Americans and took staunch liberal stances.
A regular during C-SPAN's gavel-to-gavel coverage of the House while it is in session, Jackson Lee has also been seen as controversial, and is considered by some to be one of the "meanest" members of the House, as she is known to have one of the highest turnover rates of any congressional staff. Still, she is a well-respected figure in the district, and has been re-elected with at least 80% of the vote many times. Jackson Lee won the Democratic nomination and defeated Republican nominee John Faulk 77.3-20.3% in the 2008 November general election.
Republican Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock won re-election in 2006 with 68% of the vote. His district is heavily Republican and stretches from Lubbock to Big Spring and Abilene and was created in the controversial 2003 Texas redistricting, which in 2004 led to the defeat of Neugebauer's challenger, conservative Democrat Charles Stenholm. Neugebauer won re-election over 2008 Democratic nominee Dwight Fullingim, 72.5 to 24.9%.
Democrat Charlie Gonzalez represents much of heavily Democratic, largely Hispanic inner San Antonio, including the downtown area. Gonzalez won 87% of the vote in 2006 against a Libertarian opponent and two-thirds of the 2004 vote. Gonzalez is heavily favored to win re-election to this seat, which was once held by his father, Henry Gonzalez for nearly four decades. The Gonzalez family have represented this district for 47 years as of 2008. Charlie defeated 2008 Republican nominee Robert Litoff 71.9-25.2% in the November general election.
Longtime representative Lamar S. Smith was the only Republican to win among the five congressional districts realigned as a result of a Supreme Court ruling that declared the nearby 23rd District unconstitutional as a result of allegations of diluted Hispanic voting power during the controversial 2003 Texas redistricting. Smith ended up being moved into a district that now encompasses several northern San Antonio suburbs as well as the Texas Hill Country and western parts of Travis County. The district includes a heavily Democratic portion of Austin, including the area around the University of Texas at Austin. However, it is no match for the heavily Republican areas around San Antonio. The Supreme Court decision restored a large amount of territory that had been shifted to Henry Bonilla's district in 2003. Smith won 60% of the vote in 2006 against six challengers, including two Democrats, in a special election that resulted from the ruling. Smith was renominated, while no Democrats ran in the 2008 primary. In the general election, Smith won with 80.0% of the vote.
- 2006 election
In 2006, the 11-term Republican incumbent, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was indicted and then resigned amid allegations of corruption surrounding his campaign finance activities for ARMPAC and its Texas division, TRMPAC. DeLay's resignation came too late for another Republican to replace him on the ballot. Democrat Nick Lampson, who had moved from Beaumont to Stafford to run against DeLay, ended up winning the seat after Republicans were forced to run a write-in campaign for Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, a dermatologist and former Houston City Councilwoman who won a special election to fill the remaining seven weeks of DeLay's unexpired term.
CQ Politics forecasts this race as 'No Clear Favorite'. Many other election experts agree the race is highly competitive, including Stuart Rothenberg, Electoral-vote.com, The Hill, The Southern Political Report, and Chris Cillizza.
Lampson had been mentioned as a potential candidate for the Senate in 2008, where he would face Republican incumbent John Cornyn, but Lampson instead chose to run for re-election to his congressional seat. Lampson topped a list of Democrats targeted by Republican campaign operative Karl Rove in 2008. The Republican primary was a hard-fought contest, and Olson easily defeated 2006 nominee Shelley Sekula-Gibbs in the run-off election on April 8. Olson defeated Lampson 52.4-45.4% in the general election.
The heavily Republican district includes several of Houston's affluent southern suburbs, including all of Sugar Land, affluent areas of Missouri City, Pearland, Pasadena and its surrounding smaller municipalities, and the Clear Lake master-planned community. The district is also home to the NASA Johnson Space Center, which houses Mission Control, and Ellington Field.
Ciro Rodriguez, a former Democratic congressman from San Antonio, faced Republican nominee Bexar County Commissioner Lyle Larson and Libertarian Lani Connolly in this majority-Hispanic district. CQ Politics considered this race 'Leans Democratic'.
Rodriguez defeated incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla in a December runoff after finishing in second place to Bonilla during the November general election, when Rodriguez himself ran out of money but was later helped by the DCCC. He was a former congressman who represented the nearby 28th District until a controversial redistricting plan that made this district more heavily Republican and favorable to Bonilla resulted in his defeat by that district's current representative, Henry Cuellar. Bonilla was seen as an ally of Tom DeLay, who engineered the redistricting. Also, a Supreme Court ruled Bonilla's district, which was situated in the Hill Country suburbs of San Antonio, unconstitutional over claims that Hispanic voting rights were diluted in the redistricting. This resulted in the 23rd becoming much more Democratic with the addition of south San Antonio, which is Rodriguez's home base, and the removal of the Hill Country portions from the district, which were moved to Lamar S. Smith's district.
Larson is a public official and businessman in San Antonio. A graduate of Texas A&M University, he worked as a salesman for Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. In 1991 and 1993, Larson was elected to the San Antonio City Council. In 1996, he was elected as one of the four Bexar County commissioners. He defeated attorney and banker Quico Canseco in the Republican primary for the U.S. House in 2008. Rodriguez then defeated Larson 55.8-41.9 percent. In 2010, Larson was elected in District 122 to the Texas House of Representatives to fill the seat formerly held by the Republicans Frank Corte, Jr., and, earlier John Shields.
In addition to southern San Antonio and Bexar County, the district also includes several northwestern areas of San Antonio. Other areas represented in the district include the border towns of Del Rio and Eagle Pass, as well as Big Bend National Park and eastern El Paso County. It includes more than 600 miles of the Texas-Mexico border.
Republican Kenny Marchant of Coppell won 60% of the vote in this Republican-leaning district that gave George W. Bush 65% of the vote in 2004. Marchant is heavily favored to win re-election to this district, which is located in the middle of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and includes the suburbs of Duncanville and Cedar Hill in the south, Grand Prairie and part of Irving in the central area of the district, and Colleyville, Grapevine and the Carrollton-Farmers Branch area in the north, as well as Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Marchant's district was previously represented by Martin Frost, who was moved out of this district in Tom DeLay's controversial 2003 redistricting of the state. Marchant defeated 2008 Democrat nominee Tom Love (campaign website) and 2008 Libertarian nominee David A. Casey 55.9-41.1% in the November election.
Austin Democrat Lloyd Doggett represents a Democratic-leaning constituency that is centered on the Austin area and several smaller rural areas to the south and east which either lean Republican or strongly favor Republicans. Doggett won 67% of the vote against a largely unknown Republican opponent who initially ran as a Libertarian until the previous 25th district was thrown out in a Supreme Court ruling that declared the nearby 23rd District of Henry Bonilla unconstitutional; this district was realigned as a result of the controversial mid-decade redistricting engineered by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, which realigned Doggett's district into a linear form that was derisively referred to as the "fajita strip". Doggett defeated 2008 Republican nominee George Morovich 65.8-30.5% in the November election.
Republican Michael Burgess of Lewisville won 60% of the vote in 2006 against an underfunded Democratic opponent, a six-percent drop from his 2004 victory against another Democrat. However, Burgess remains assured of a safe seat, as his seat takes in most of Denton County as well as parts of Fort Worth and lean heavily in favor of the Republican Party. The district was once represented by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who engineered the 1994 Republican Revolution along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Burgess defeated 2008 Democrat nominee Ken Leach (campaign website) 60.2-36.4% in the November election.
The District is represented by Moderate Democrat Solomon Ortiz, the Dean of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Ortiz received 57% of the vote in 2006, a six-point decline from his 2004 performance, which was somewhat of an anomaly given the strong anti-Republican voting mood of 2006, where Democrats either performed above their 2004 performance or ran without opposition. In 2004, George W. Bush carried this South Texas district, which includes Corpus Christi as well as Brownsville and South Padre Island. Ortiz won the Democrat nomination and defeated Republican nominee Willie Vaden 57.9-38.4% in November.
Conservative Democrat Henry Cuellar won 68% of the vote in 2006 against another Democrat who received 20% of the vote. Even though Cuellar is becoming a rising star in the Democratic Party, and has even been seen by some as a potential Democratic challenger to Senator John Cornyn, Cuellar could face a challenge for his seat, which includes Laredo (where Cuellar resides) and areas south of San Antonio, due to his somewhat conservative voting record. For instance, Cuellar received the backing of the conservative Club for Growth during his 2006 primary campaign against Ciro Rodriguez, his predecessor, who later went on to win the 23rd District held by Republican Henry Bonilla, whom Cuellar nearly defeated in 2002. Cuellar won the Democratic nomination and defeated Republican nominee Jim Fish 68.7-29.2% in November.
Democrat Gene Green of Houston has won re-election easily without facing a primary challenge in this strongly Latino, heavily Democratic district, which covers eastern portions of Houston as well as some of its suburbs. Green defeated Republican nominee Eric Story 74.7-23.9%.
Incumbent Democratic nominee Eddie Bernice Johnson (campaign website) of Dallas defeated Republican nominee Fred Wood (campaign website) 82.6-15.8%. This district includes the inner city areas of Dallas, including its downtown areas, as well as several southern Dallas County suburbs south of the city which boast a large African-American population. CQ Politics considered the race to be 'Safe Democratic'.
John Carter of Round Rock won 59% of the vote in 2006 against a token Democratic opponent. His district, which was created as a result of the 2000 Census, stretches across a large segment of Central Texas from the northern Williamson County suburbs of Austin to the gigantic Fort Hood military base, all the way north to Stephenville. This description of the district would make it an opportunity for the Fighting Dems, a faction of military veterans who are members of the Democratic Party. Radio producer Brian P. Ruiz (campaign website) of Hutto won the Democratic nomination but was defeated by Carter 60.3-36.5% in the general election.
Six-term incumbent and conservative Republican Pete Sessions (campaign website) faced Democrat Eric Roberson (campaign website) in this Dallas district. CQ Politics considered the race 'Safe Republican'.
Sessions was considered to be a vulnerable candidate for a number of reasons. First, he is known to have close ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, an issue that is likely to become the focus of his Democratic challenger's campaign in 2008. Also, while Sessions improved on his margin from his hotly contested 2004 race against Democrat Martin Frost, who was displaced from his previous district as a result of the controversial 2003 redistricting engineered by former House Majority Leader and Abramoff ally, Tom DeLay, it was only by a 2% margin (from 54% in 2004 to 56% in 2006). Contrarily, George W. Bush carried 59% of the vote in the district to 41% of the vote for John Kerry in 2004. Finally, in 2006, Democrats made unexpected gains in Dallas County, winning the District Attorney office and all contested state district judgeships in the county, along with a number of countywide offices on the basis of corruption within the local Republican establishment as well as momentum gained from Democratic Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez's unexpected 2004 victory.
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Tom DeLay's (R) old district might return to its roots this fall, since first year incumbent Nick Lampson (D) won in 2006 against a write-in opponent by a mere 52%. Lampson is facing ex-US Senate aide Pete Olson, a GOP-establishment favorite.
- Cillizza, Chris (June 20, 2008). "The Line: Generic Ballot Distress for House GOP". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
- Anand, Easha (October 28, 2008). "Down the Homestretch: Texas's 22nd District (Democratic Incumbent)". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
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- 1992 - 2007 Election History Archived 2006-11-08 at the Wayback Machine Texas Secretary of State