Democratic Congressman Chet Edwards has retained the 17th Congressional District of Texas with a victory Tuesday night over Republican challenger Van Taylor.
"I'm really humbled by the overwhelming support that the voters have given us in this race," Edwards said. "I think it's a statement that they appreciate the fact that I've tried to be an independent minded voice for all the people of our district."
For nearly the entire evening, Edwards hovered around 60 percent of the votes in District 17, which notably includes Waco, Bryan and College Station. It was a landslide victory that dwarfs the victory two years earlier when Republican nominee Arlene Wohlgemuth lost by just 9,000 votes. This time, the victory was in the tens of thousands.
"To the voters of Central Texas, thank you from the bottom of our heart," Edwards told a huge crowd at his headquarters in Waco, his family standing by his side. "For us, working for the people of this district is not a job. It's a labor of love, and we thank you for that honor."
The mood was much more somber at Taylor's headquarters as the West resident watched the totals come in.
"I just want to thank every person that's been here, that's contributed to the campaign, who's voted for Van Taylor for Congress," Taylor said. "I'm grateful to them for their hard work and support for the campaign that we've run."
Taylor's campaign was deemed negative by many, as the former Marine attacked Edwards' record on immigration and border security.
"We've done a great campaign," Taylor said, saying he regretted nothing in his run for Congress. "We've done a great job. Everybody who I've talked to has been very proud of the Republican cause and the values that we've fought for. You never go wrong fighting for what you believe in, and that's what I've done."
With the win and the Democratic Party taking control of the House of Representatives, Edwards will become one of the most powerful members of the lower house of the US Congress. His win Tuesday earns him a ninth term in the House, and a second in the young history of the newly-defined 17th District.
Edwards was the lone Democratic survivor of the infamous state redistricting under Tom DeLay's leadership.