Bryan-College Station Key Battleground in CD 17

Whoever wins Brazos County will likely capture the race

Whoever wins Brazos County will likely capture the race

Dave Mann

The polls closed a few minutes ago in most of Texas, and now we wait for results in the state’s three key U.S. House races.

In closely watched Chet Edwards-Bill Flores race, the Bryan-College Station area could be a decisive battleground. The 17th Congressional District spans a swath of Central Texas from Waco—where Democrat Chet Edwards has his base—through the southern Fort Worth suburbs and east to College Station.

When Tom DeLay’s map-makers drew the district in 2003, they included the ultra-conservative Brazos County, which covers Bryan-College Station. They hoped that area would make the disctric Republican enough to overwhelm Chet Edwards.

But Edwards worked hard to make inroads in the area. He took advantage of his connections to Texas A&M, where he went to school, courted local politicians, and perhaps most beneficial of all, brought home federal pork for the university.

In his previous three races, Edwards has performed well in Bryan-College Station. In 2004, he polled even there against Republican Arlene Wohlgemuth. In 2006 and 2008, Edwards won the county by double digits.

This year could be different, though. Republican challenger Bill Flores lives in Bryan and there have been early indications that he will perform well there. As the early results come in, keep an eye on Brazos County. If Flores beats Edwards there, he’ll likely have himself a seat in Congress.

I’ll have more updates on Texas’ congressional races as results come in.

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Dave Mann is a former editor of the Observer.

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