Democrat MJ Hegar conceded the hard-fought U.S. District 31 race late Tuesday night as results were still trickling in.
Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, the incumbent, had 143,330 votes to Hegar's 134,675 with 99.1 percent of the precincts reporting at 1:17 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Texas Tribune.
Hegar, D-Round Rock, said in a news release: “I am so proud of the campaign we built. I am proud of the voters we registered who voted for the first time. I am proud of the way we rose above partisanship and inspired people from both sides of the aisle to find places we could agree. While things didn’t go as we hoped, we gave it our all and left nothing on the field. We ran a clean and honest campaign, and I have no regrets."
Carter supporters gathered at the Wingate Hotel in Round Rock, although Carter had not arrived at the event by press time. His supporters cheered as Republican wins were announced throughout the night.
Before leaving a Bell County watch party, Carter was confident he would be able to fend off Hegar and win his ninth election.
Hegar addressed her supporters at Mesa Rosa Mexican Restaurant in Austin about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Her news release appeared shortly after midnight.
Hegar hit the national stage earlier this summer when her three-minute television spot, titled “Doors,” went viral online. As of Monday, the video had 2.9 million views on YouTube.
Hegar, a former Air Force medical helicopter pilot who was shot down in Afghanistan, is the author of a best-selling book on her war-time escapades and was a plaintiff in a federal ACLU case in 2012 to allow women to serve in ground combat roles. The Department of Defense overturned that exclusion policy in December 2015.
Hegar was one of five Democrats who faced off in the March 6 primary for the nomination, underscoring a push by blue Texas candidates to challenge Republican-dominated districts after President Donald Trump’s election in 2016.
In early August, Hegar was targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fundraising arm for Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, as part of “Red to Blue” campaign to flip hard-red national races.
In November 2016, Carter, an eight-term incumbent, easily won the district with a nearly 22-percent advantage over Democrat opponent Mike Clark, of Georgetown.
In early October, an independent poll from the New York Times/Siena College showed Carter with a 15-point lead over Hegar.
Polling 490 possible voters from Oct. 1-5, the results show Carter with 53 percent of the vote to Hegar’s 38 percent.
An internal poll paid for by Carter’s camp and conducted in late September showed the incumbent with a 21-point advantage of his opponent — 54 percent to 33 percent.
A separate poll paid for by Hegar’s campaign in September showed Carter with a slim four-point lead.
Herald staff writers David A. Bryant and Katelyn Robertson contributed to this report.