Neugebauer Captures Texas’ 19th District by 587-Vote Margin

Posted June 4, 2003 at 10:11am

Former Lubbock City Councilman Randy Neugebauer (R) narrowly defeated Midland accountant Mike Conaway (R) in a special election runoff for Texas’ 19th district Tuesday.

Neugebauer took 50.5 percent to Conaway’s 49.5 percent, as only 587 votes separated the two men. The result was a near carbon copy of the May 3 primary, in which Neugebauer took 22 percent to Conaway’s 21 percent. Neugebauer’s margin in that race was 821 votes.

Neugebauer is expected to be sworn in Wednesday to fill the vacancy left by former Rep. Larry Combest (R), who officially resigned from the House on Saturday. Combest had represented the West Texas seat since 1984.

The race devolved into a geographic struggle between Lubbock, the population center in the northern end of the district, and the southern towns of Midland and Odessa, known collectively as the Permian Basin.

Conaway won a 13,162-vote margin in Midland and Odessa while Neugebauer carried Lubbock by 11,130 votes. Neugebauer made up that deficit in the16 more rural counties that comprise the remainder of the district. He carried 12 total counties, after winning 11 in the May primary.

Neugebauer served on the Lubbock City Council from 1992 to 1998. Prior to being elected to Congress, he served as the head of the Ports to Plains Coalition, a group dedicated to creating a trade corridor between Texas and Mexico.

For more on the race, see Thursday’s edition of Roll Call newspaper.