- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 3, 2004

DALLAS — Democrat Martin Frost, the No. 1 target of Republicans’ redistricting in Texas last year, was beaten handily in a bitter congressional race here yesterday, falling to fellow Rep. Pete Sessions, one of the Republican Party’s rising stars.

Mr. Frost lost by a stunning margin — a trend that continued in other parts of Texas, where Democrats tried to get re-elected in newly aligned districts that were unfriendly to them.

Two East Texas incumbent Democrats who had been favored in several polls faltered — Max Sandlin and Nick Lampson. Central Texas Democrat Chet Edwards still was fighting past midnight to hold a razor-thin margin ahead of Arlene Wohlgemuth.

Mr. Frost conceded at 9:15 p.m., behind by double figures from the outset and trailing by 103,009 to 78,717 when he met with campaign backers and publicly congratulated Mr. Sessions.

“It’s a tough loss,” Mr. Frost said. “But I’ve had 26 great years serving the people of this area. I’m very proud of what I’ve done. This was a race that I couldn’t win.”

Mr. Sessions, who won a fifth term, said those who voted for Mr. Frost “voted for a good man,” adding, “but Martin Frost voted for tax increases and more spending” and that sealed his fate in this conservative district.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Sugar Land, who easily defeated Democratic challenger Richard Morrison (101,305 to 66,432 in late returns) to win his 11th term, was the architect of the controversial redistricting plan that shoved several incumbent Democrats into realigned districts favoring Republicans.

And though early polls predicted some Democrats could overcome that built-in advantage, most didn’t.

Democrat incumbent Mr. Sandlin of Marshall led in several polls against former Judge Louie Gohmert of Tyler, but Mr. Gohmert stunned the veteran congressman, pulling away by 124,453 to 73,502, with 52 percent of the vote tallied.

In central Texas, where Mr. Edwards of Waco was opposed by Mrs. Wohlgemuth, a Republican state representative, the more liberal Mr. Edwards tried to move to the center, but failed. A heavy TV blitz by the Republican candidate helped her close the gap.

She may have been helped also by a strong endorsement given to her by President Bush at his last rally here Monday night at Southern Methodist University. He told an adoring crowd of several thousand that he was looking forward to having a new representative. His Crawford ranch is in that district.

Ahead by 65,002 to 60,000, Mr. Edwards’ lead had been scaled down to about 700 votes by 12:20 a.m.

In southeast Texas, Democratic incumbent Mr. Lampson was swamped by former District Judge Ted Poe. The count there at midnight was Mr. Poe with 93,555 votes and Mr. Lampson with 63,604 votes.

Voting tabulations took longer than usual, because of heavy voting statewide.

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