In a closely watched race for Texas’ 7th Congressional District, Democrat incumbent Rep. Lizzie Fletcher has fended off a challenge from Republican Wesley Hunt.
By Wednesday morning, unofficial counts provided by the Texas secretary of state show Fletcher with 142,574 votes to Hunt’s 129,524. Libertarian Shawn Kelly captured 4,305 votes, leaving Fletcher with just over 50 percent of the total.
In 2018, Rep. Fletcher defeated nine-term incumbent John Culberson with 52.5 percent of the vote. After winning the seat to represent the bulk of Houston’s Energy Corridor, Fletcher worked to present a more moderate position on oil and gas issues in an effort to represent the interests of her district.
Energy issues played a key role in the campaign, with Hunt calling out the freshman for siding with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on most record votes, but Fletcher stressed her bipartisan votes and cooperation with Republicans from other energy industry-dependent districts such as Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA).
Although Democrat leadership in Congress stripped $3 billion to purchase oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) from the CARES Act, Fletcher later introduced H.R. 6580 to provide the funds.
Fletcher vocally opposed the Green New Deal and said that achieving net-zero emissions by 2030 is likely impossible, but has expressed support for returning the country to the Paris Climate Agreement.
The freshman legislator touted endorsements from pro-abortion and gun control groups such as Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords PAC.
Governor Greg Abbott recently criticized Fletcher’s vote for legislation that would overturn Texas “Right to Work” laws and compel union dues.
Hunt, a graduate of West Point Military Academy and former Apache helicopter pilot who served in Iraq, handily won a six-way primary race and outraised Fletcher in the third quarter by more than $1.5 million.
The young father of two campaigned on defending Houston’s energy sector jobs and opposing the Green New Deal, but also had promised to seek free-market reforms that would lower health care costs and permanently remove Obamacare’s individual mandate.
Hunt recently joined Abbott in Houston to sign a Back the Blue pledge, and has been vocal about supporting law enforcement. He has enjoyed the support of popular Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-2) and radio show host Michael Berry, and recently recorded a podcast with Joe Rogan.
The few available polls prior to the election indicated a close race, with the most recent conducted by GS Strategy Group giving Fletcher a 2 percent advantage. Cook Political Report rated the formerly Republican district as “likely Democrat.”
In a statement released early Wednesday morning, Fletcher said she was honored and delighted to win reelection.
“Our campaign is a coalition of people from across our diverse and dynamic community who want to bring our Houston values to Washington to help our community and our country thrive. I am grateful to the many people who worked so hard to make it possible for me to serve our community in the Congress, and to continue to do so for the next two years. I look forward to working with partners throughout our community to build on the solid foundation we have built during my first term, and to keep bringing a little more Houston to Washington, D.C.”
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