Republican Rep. Steve Stockman, a staunch gun-rights supporter who became a lightning rod for anti-militia sentiment, lost a runoff to a former county tax assessor after just one term.
“It’s been one long, strange trip,” Stockman said after losing to Democrat Nick Lampson, 53% to 47%, in one of three congressional runoffs in Texas.
Another freshman incumbent, Democrat Ken Bentsen, nephew of former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, easily won reelection over GOP candidate Dolly Madison McKenna in the 25th District.
In a battle of two Republicans in the 8th District, state Rep. Kevin Brady, supported by the party’s establishment, defeated Gene Fontenot, who was backed by Pat Robertson and other religious conservatives.
The elections leave Republicans still in control of the U.S. House next year, holding a 227-207 advantage, with one independent member.
Republicans, however, locked up control of the Texas Senate for the first time since Reconstruction as West Texas voters chose GOP state Rep. Robert Duncan over Democrat David Langston.
The congressional runoffs followed an August ruling by federal judges that some of the state’s congressional districts were improperly drawn on the basis of race.
The judges threw out the results of the March primary and ordered the Nov. 5 special election. In three races, no candidate won more than half the vote, so the top two vote-getters advanced to Tuesday’s runoff.