Republican Jodey Arrington will win Texas’s 19th District, The Associated Press projects. He did not face a Democratic opponent in the race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer.
Arrington had 88 percent of the vote with 1.65 percent of precincts reporting.
Coming into Election Day the open seat was rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
The high, flat mesa of the 19th District produces one of the nation’s top cotton crops. Beginning in Parmer and Castro counties in the Texas Panhandle, the district stretches across the South Plains and east through towns that sprouted along the path of the Texas and Pacific Railway. It captures both Lubbock and Abilene. The district is was considered the 11th most conservative district in the country, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report for the 113th congress.
Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson finished first in the March primary by less than 1,000 votes over Arrington, a former Texas Tech University vice chancellor. But Arrington prevailed in May 24 runoff, 54-46 percent.
Arrington’s emergence from a crowded primary field in 2016 marked his first electoral win in his own right, following a decade of work in George W. Bush’s presidential and gubernatorial administrations.
Arrington, president of a health care innovation holding company, has set his sights on the chairmanship of the House Agriculture Committee, saying in a May 2016 primary debate he was gunning to bring the committee’s gavel to the largely rural district. In that debate, Arrington criticized the farm bill for removing subsidies to cotton growers.
He supports “an all-of-the-above” energy policy that includes support of oil and gas producers, as well as wind energy companies.
Arrington says he’d prioritize border protection. Border Patrol needs additional manpower and equipment to effectively deny people who would enter illegally, he says.
He also considers himself an advocate of “states’ rights,” especially on social issues, he says.
“This was a difficult decision, but I feel this is a good time to end this season of my life and move to another,” he said in a statement at the time.
Neugebauer, 65, has held the seat since he won a hotly contested primary in 2003.