By Robert Nathan
Killeen Daily Herald
Rep. John Carter won re-election to a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday in a landslide victory over his Democratic opponent, Mary Beth Harrell.
As of 10:30 p.m., the Republican from Round Rock had earned more than 58 percent of the vote in the race for the 31st Congressional District of Texas, which includes the greater Killeen-Fort Hood area.
Much of the attention in the congressional race was focused on America’s position in the Iraq war and Carter’s unwillingness to participate in public debates with his opponents.
“I’m very humbled and pleased that the people of the 31st Congressional District would give me another chance to go back to Washington and try to share Central Texas values with the rest of the country,” Carter said. “I’m very honored by that.”
Before he was elected to Congress in 2001, Carter spent more than 20 years as a district judge in Williamson County. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee. He serves on the Homeland Security Committee, Foreign Operations Committee and the Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Committee. He also has been a member of the Education, Workforce, Judiciary and Government Reform committees.
The 31st Congressional District is comprised of Bell, Coryell, Williamson, Erath, Hamilton, Falls and Milam counties, in addition to a portion of Robertson County.
As of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Carter had won 24,622 votes in Bell County, or 58 percent. Harrell earned 16,762, 39 percent of the county vote. Libertarian Matt McAdoo garnered 1.8 percent with 753 Bell County votes. A total of 42,137 ballots were cast.
Carter earned 5,626 votes in Coryell County, 59.7 percent. Harrell took 3,602, 38 percent, and McAdoo had 195, a total of 2 percent. A total of 9,423 ballots were cast in Coryell County.
Carter earned 32,106 votes —59 percent — of the vote in his home county, Williamson. Harrell tallied 20,832 votes, 38 percent, and McAdoo earned 1,551 votes, just 3 percent of the Williamson County vote.
“We have so many things that have to be accomplished,” Carter said. “We have to protect our soldiers and keep them safe and continue to take the war to the terrorists.”
While Carter was celebrating his victory, his Democratic challenger was coping with her own disappointment.
“I think the bottom line is I’m very proud of the campaign that we’ve run and I’m very grateful to the incredible support and volunteers and people who helped me run this campaign,” said Harrell, who is a Killeen attorney.
Harrell, 49, is the wife of a retired military officer and mother of two active-duty soldiers — the oldest is serving in Iraq with the 4th Infantry
Division. In her first congressional campaign, Harrell focused much of her platform on the war in Iraq. She agreed there is a need to continue to have a military presence in Iraq, but its role and mission should be reevaluated.
The Libertarian challenger was unavailable for comment Tuesday evening.
In his first congressional campaign McAdoo, 26, addressed the need to reduce the size of the federal government, eliminate foreign aid and bring all American troops back to United States soil.
Since America entered the war in Iraq in March 2003, the 65-year-old Carter said, the government’s policy has been finishing the job and not setting a timetable for the military’s departure. He said he feels confident about the military’s progress in the war in Iraq.
Contact Robert Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org