3 Likely New Texas Members Nominated

Posted March 10, 2004 at 6:43pm

For accountant Mike Conaway (R), the second time was the charm.

After losing by just 587 votes to Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R) in a June 2003 special election in the 19th district, Conaway took nearly 75 percent Tuesday against a little-known opponent in the 11th district GOP primary. He is heavily favored to win the general election in November.

“I have a long history of public service that appealed to the voters,” Conaway said late Wednesday. He added that he would be interested in serving on the Agriculture Committee.

Conaway and President Bush were partners in an oil company in the mid-1980s, and Bush, as Lone Star State governor, appointed Conaway to the state Board of Public Accountancy.

Conaway easily carried Midland in his race against Neugebauer but was unable to crack the Congressman’s base in Lubbock.

Lubbock has since been added to the 19th district, where Neugebauer and Rep. Charlie Stenholm (D) will square off in November.

And now, Conaway will do something that Bush was never able to accomplish: represent the people of Midland in Congress.

Bush lost a 1978 Congressional race there, the only defeat of his political career.

State Rep. Kenny Marchant (R) also learned the value of waiting on Tuesday.

In the 2001 reapportionment, Texas gained two Congressional districts due to its rapid growth.

One of the two seats — the 32nd district — was drawn with Marchant in mind as it fit well with his base in suburban Dallas.

But Rep. Pete Sessions (R) decided to leave his own 5th district to run in the more safe 32nd district, leaving Marchant without a seat.

When Republicans reopened the lines last year, they made sure to carve Marchant a seat — the new 24th district. He won the primary easily on Tuesday and faces token opposition in November.

“We ran a good ground game,” said Marchant spokesman Brian Epstein. “Kenny went out and organized endorsements from elected officials in all of the communities throughout the state.”

Marchant is currently in his ninth term in the state House; prior to being elected he served as the mayor of Carrollton and a member of the Carrollton City Council.

In the state House, he headed the Texas House Republican caucus, and was the engineer of the GOP’s takeover of that body from Democrats in 2002, a victory that allowed Republicans to redraw the state Congressional map last year.

Former Houston Justice of the Peace Al Green used his status in the black community as well as more than $300,000 in personal funds to deliver a stunning upset Tuesday over freshman Rep. Chris Bell (D) in the Houston-based 25th.

Green was elected justice of the peace in 1977 and served until January. He also was the head of the Houston chapter of the NAACP for a decade.

Although Green did not receive the official endorsement of the Congressional Black Caucus, he was backed by several of its prominent Members, including Vice Chairwoman Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) and past CBC President Maxine Waters (Calif.).

That support was essential in a district where 37 percent of the voting age population is black. Green is expected to glide to victory in the general election.