The Latest: AP withdraws Hurd call in Texas US House race

Published 11-07-2018

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Latest on Election Day in Texas (all times Central):

2:45 a.m.

The Associated Press has withdrawn its call in the Texas congressional race pitting Republican Rep. Will Hurd against Democratic challenger Gina Ortiz Jones.

The AP had initially called the race for Hurd but later determined the race is too close to call.

With all precincts reporting as of 3:30 EST a.m. on Wednesday, Hurd has a lead of 689 votes out of more than 209,500 cast. That margin is roughly three tenths of 1 percent.

Hurd is a two-term incumbent and former CIA agent who has been one of President Donald Trump's harshest critics among fellow Republicans.

Ortiz Jones is trying to become Texas' first Filipina-American and openly gay member of Congress.


11:57 p.m.

The wife of Texas' indicted attorney general has been elected to the Legislature, wining a heavily Republican Senate seat representing suburban Dallas.

Republican Angela Paxton, an ex-Christian academy guidance counselor, topped

Ortiz Jones is trying to become Texas' first Filipina-American and openly gay member of Congress.


11:57 p.m.

The wife of Texas' indicted attorney general has been elected to the Legislature, wining a heavily Republican Senate seat representing suburban Dallas.

Republican Angela Paxton, an ex-Christian academy guidance counselor, topped Mark Phariss. He's a lawyer who sued over the right to marry his partner and was trying to become Texas' first openly gay state senator.

Paxton's husband, Ken, was re-elected Tuesday despite being indicted on felony securities fraud charges.

A frequent singer at public events, Angela Paxton for years sung that she's a "pistol-packing mama whose husband sues Obama," referencing Texas frequently suing to block regulations

11:57 p.m.

The wife of Texas' indicted attorney general has been elected to the Legislature, wining a heavily Republican Senate seat representing suburban Dallas.

Republican Angela Paxton, an ex-Christian academy guidance counselor, topped Mark Phariss. He's a lawyer who sued over the right to marry his partner and was trying to become Texas' first openly gay state senator.

Paxton's husband, Ken, was re-elected Tuesday despite being indicted on felony securities fraud charges.

A frequent singer at public events, Angela Paxton for years sung that she's a "pistol-packing mama whose husband sues Obama," referencing Texas frequently suing to block regulations issued by the previous administration.

Tuesday's result was expected after Paxton beat Phillip Huffines, twin brother of Republican state Sen. Don Huffines, in a GOP primary where both combined to spend a record $12-plus million.


11:51 p.m.

One of President Donald Trump's few Republican critics in Congress has won re-election in a Texas swing district.

Will Hurd is a former CIA officer. He accused Trump this summer of "standing idle on the world stage" and being manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He also opposed Trump's border wall. The race was a test of his independent reputation in a district that stretches along the U.S.-Mexico border and was carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones said Hurd's reputation for standing up to Trump isn't backed up by his record. Her loss is a blow for Democrats who saw the district as one of their best chances to help win back the House in the midterms.


11:33 p.m.

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has won a second term while still under felony indictment for securities fraud.

Paxton has spent nearly his entire first term in office charged with defrauding investors in a tech startup. He has pleaded not guilty and faces five to 99 years in prison if convicted.

Democrat Justin Nelson staked his campaign on reminding voters that Paxton was indicted and still awaiting trial. The case has languished in court for nearly a year after a Paxton ally sued over how much special prosecutors in the case are being paid.

Paxton was indicted in 2015 but has steadied his political career by becoming a strong supporter of President Donald Trump and leading lawsuits over religious liberty and anti-abortion laws.


11:28 p.m.

Longtime Republican Rep. John Carter has fended off a high-profile challenge from a well-funded ex-Air Force pilot to win re-election in a reliably red suburban Austin district that Democrats had longshot hopes of flipping.

Carter, from Round Rock, north of Texas' capital, was first elected to the House in 2002 and had rarely been challenged since, winning re-election by 20 points in 2016.

But Hegar produced an ad highlighting her having survived an abusive father and being shot down and injured by the Taliban in Afghanistan while flying a helicopter in 2009. It became a national sensation, helping her raise $4-plus million - more than triple Carter's haul.

She then blanked TV airwaves with anti-Carter ads. But those ads and glowing national attention weren't enough in a district so deeply conservative.


11:25 p.m.

Democrat Beto O'Rourke is striking an optimistic - if also profane - tone after his defeat to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

He told thousands of supporters in El Paso that Tuesday's loss "does nothing to diminish how I feel about Texas or this country."

O'Rourke said the movement he started would continue in some form saying, "We will see you out there, down the road."

He also praised a campaign that broke fundraising records despite shunning money from outside groups. And he told his supporters how proud he was of the campaign, adding a choice profanity that was carried live on at least one cable network.


11:10 p.m.

Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher has upset Republican Rep. John Culberson, flipping a Houston House district that has been GOP-controlled since first sending George H.W. Bush to Congress 50-plus years ago.

Fletcher is a prominent corporate attorney and outspoken defender of abortion rights who argued that President Donald Trump was trying to hurt advances in women's equality.

She was backed by national Democratic groups, while GOP organizations and a visit by Vice President Mike Pence tried to save Culberson.

Culberson had represented the wealthy and well-educated district since 2001 but has seen its demographics shift to become less white and more heavily Hispanic and black.

Democrats hope a wave election nationally can help them pick up 23 seats and retake the House.

Fletcher's victory marks the party's second pickup in deep-red Texas.


10:45 p.m.

George P. Bush won re-election as Texas land commissioner, which oversees oil and natural gas exploration rights on 13 million acres of public land.

The grandson and nephew of former presidents and son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, George P. Bush topped underfunded Democrat Miguel Suazo.

The 42-year-old fluent Spanish speaker is considered a rising Republican star. But Bush has drawn criticism from some Texas conservatives for leading a makeover of the Alamo that some complain is too politically correct.

He also has led Texas' housing recovery after last summer's Hurricane Harvey - and been dogged by complains things are moving too slowly.

Fellow Republicans Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Comptroller Glenn Hegar also easily clinched re-election Tuesday.


10:43 p.m.

Republican Rep. Pete Olson has defeated Indian-American challenger Sri Preston Kulkarni to win re-election in a suburban Houston district that Democrats had hoped to flip due to a large Asian-American population.

Olson first came to Congress in 2009 in reliably Republican territory. But Texas' shifting demographics now mean that 60 percent of his district voters are minority and 20 percent are Asian, making it one of the state's largest Asian districts.

Both candidates raised over $1 million and charges of racism marred the race. The Fort Bend County Republican Party apologized for an ad in a district newspaper popular with Indian-Americans that likened Hindu deity Ganesha to the GOP's elephant symbol.

National Democrats that Kulkarni, while a longshot could upset Olson as they look to retake control of the House.


10:35 p.m.

Former NFL linebacker and civil rights attorney Colin Allred has defeated longtime Republican Rep. Pete Sessions, flipping a reliably conservative Dallas enclave.

Sessions has been in Congress since 1997 and rarely challenged in an area that is home to the likes of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He didn't even face a Democratic opponent in 2016.

But Hillary Clinton topped Donald Trump in the district two years ago. Its growing minority population helped prompt national Democrats to pour funding and field staff into supporting Allred. Sessions had national help too, including an October visit from Vice President Mike Pence.

Democrats hope a surge nationally can help them gain 23 seats and retake the House. Allred's victory marks their first Texas pickup.

News of Allred's win sent booming cheers through the ballroom at a Dallas hotel. A group of young supporters near the stage hugged and chanted.

Allred told supporters he was prepared to work with anyone from any political ideology.


10:30 p.m.

Newly re-elected Sen. Ted Cruz says Democrat Beto O'Rourke "worked tirelessly" and that millions of people across the state were "inspired by his campaign."

Cruz spoke Tuesday at his victory party shortly after clinching his second term in a race that was closely watched nationally.

Cruz told his supporters that "Texas saw something this year that we've never seen before."

Ultimately, he says, Texans came together behind "a common-sense agenda of low taxes, low regulations, and lots and lots of jobs."


10:15 p.m.

An ex-Navy SEAL has been elected to the U.S. House three days after "Saturday Night Live" mocked the eye patch he wears because he was badly wounded in combat.

Republican Dan Crenshaw defeated Democrat Todd Litton on Tuesday to represent a vacant Houston-area district.

Crenshaw lost his right eye in a battlefield explosion. Comic Pete Davidson joked on Saturday that his eye patch made him look like a "hit man in a porno movie," The joke drew widespread condemnation and attention to Crenshaw's campaign.

Crenshaw tweeted Sunday that he hoped SNL "recognizes that vets don't deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes."


10 p.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz's father is telling several hundred supporters that "Texas remains free" after his son won a close re-election battle against Democrat Beto O'Rourke.

Rafael Cruz referred on Tuesday night to O'Rourke by his birth name, saying: "Robert Francis O'Rourke, you cannot buy Texas." Some of the senator supporters used O'Rourke's birth name to suggest that he was falsely presenting himself as Latino. Ted Cruz also uses a nickname.

Rafael Cruz also attacked George Soros, the billionaire financier and major Democratic donor. He accused Soros of trying to "buy Texas" as well.

The crowd chanted "Ted! Ted!" as Rafael Cruz spoke.

9:25 p.m.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz fended off rising-star Democrat Beto O'Rourke to win re-election in a much-watched Texas Senate race that began as a cakewalk but needed a visit from President Donald Trump to help push the incumbent over the top.

Cruz finished a surprising second in the 2016 Republican presidential primary and began the Senate race as a prohibitive favorite.

But O'Rourke visited fiercely conservative parts of the state that his party had long since given up on, while shattering fundraising records despite shunning donations from outside political groups and pollster advice.

Cruz argued that his opponent's support for gun control and universal health care were too liberal for Texas.

Trump and Cruz were bitter 2016 rivals, but the president visited Houston late last month to solidify the senator's win.


9:10 p.m.

Thousands of people are milling around the infield at the El Paso baseball stadium where Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke is holding his election-night party.

As they awaited results in the closely fought race, people in the crowd were entertained by a cumbia band. They cheered when the singer said, "El Paso never gives up."

O'Rourke is a congressman from El Paso who has mounted a competitive challenge against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

His campaign drew national attention and a wide range of endorsements, including one in the last few hours of the race from Beyonce, the singer and Houston native.

Texas hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office in nearly a quarter-century.


8:50 p.m.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says it's time for Texans to "work side by side" following a divisive midterm campaign season.

Abbott struck a tone of unity after easily winning re-election over Democrat Lupe Valdez.

The 60-year-old Abbott says that Texans must remember that "what unities us as Texans is far greater than our differences." He released the statement as Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and other GOP incumbents in Texas were still locked in much closer races.

Republicans have kept a grip on the Texas governor's mansion since 1994.

Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff, never put together a serious statewide challenge.


8:25 p.m.

Texas is sending its first Hispanic women to Congress, with Democrats in Houston and El Paso both earning that trailblazing distinction during the same electoral cycle.

State Sen. Sylvia Garcia won a heavily Hispanic district in Houston, replacing retiring Democratic Rep. Gene Green, who remained popular representing the area for decades despite being a self-described white man who spoke marginal Spanish.

A former county judge in El Paso, Veronica Escobar won a seat to replace El Paso Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is leaving the House as he challenges Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

Texas has the nation's second-largest Hispanic population behind California but had never elected a Latina to either congressional chamber. Cruz became the state's first Hispanic male senator in 2012.


8 p.m.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has won a second term after an uneventful race against Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez.

Abbott's re-election was seldom in doubt. Republicans have won every governor's race in Texas since 1994, starting with George W. Bush and continuing with Rick Perry and now Abbott.

Valdez is a former sheriff in Dallas who would have been Texas' first openly gay, Hispanic governor. But she struggled to raise money and support, and her race was overshadowed in Texas by Democrat Beto O'Rourke's high-profile run for Senate.

The 60-year-old Abbott is the nation's only governor who uses a wheelchair. He was paralyzed from the waist down after a tree fell on him as a young law student.


7 p.m.

As polls closed across most of Texas, supporters of both candidates in the closely watched U.S. Senate race gathered at opposite ends of the state.

Thousands of Democrat Beto O'Rourke supporters are at a minor league baseball stadium in the Texas Democratic Senate candidate's native El Paso to await elections results that could come late into the night.

At U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's party in Houston, a line of people waited to enter the hotel ballroom, chanting "Ted! Ted!" Some in the crowd wore red "Make America Great Again" baseball caps.

Polls in El Paso and far west Texas are still open for another hour. Nine polling places in the Houston area will also stay open under a judge's order after reports that they opened late this morning.


5:10 p.m.

Beyonce has endorsed Texas Democratic Senate hopeful Beto O'Rourke's bid to unseat Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in the final hours before her home state's polls close.

The native Houstonian released a series of Instagram posts with a black and white "Beto" cap partially covering her face on Tuesday afternoon.

O'Rourke himself then retweeted one of the pictures under the caption "Thank you, Beyonce."

An El Paso congressman, O'Rourke is trying to become the first Democrat to win statewide office in Texas since 1994 and has drawn the adoration of many celebrities, including Texas country music icon Willie Nelson.

Cruz dismisses his opponent's upset-minded campaign as too liberal for Texas since O'Rourke supports universal health care and impeaching President Donald Trump.


4:50 p.m.

Nine Houston-area polling places will stay open until 8 p.m. after a judge ruled in favor of advocacy groups that complained the locations didn't open on time and forced many voters to leave without casting a ballot.

State District Judge Fredericka Phillips granted a temporary restraining order Tuesday that directs Harris County to keep the nine locations open until 8 p.m., an hour later than the rest of the county.

The Texas Civil Rights Project and Texas Organizing Project filed several statements from voters who reported long morning lines and malfunctioning machines.

One person said she was first in line before the 7 a.m. opening but left at 7:45 without voting because poll workers' sign-in machines weren't working.

An attorney for Harris County says the county will comply with Phillips' order.

The nine locations are listed here . There are roughly 1,000 polling places in Harris County.


3:30 p.m.

A Harris County deputy has cited a poll worker for misdemeanor assault after she allegedly bumped a voter during an argument and made a racist comment.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office said on Twitter the deputy responded Tuesday morning to a disturbance call at a polling site in Houston.

The Houston Chronicle reports the dispute began over a discrepancy with the voter's address. The confrontation escalated and the worker, who is white, made a racist comment to the voter, who's a black woman. Witnesses confirmed to the newspaper that the worker said, "Maybe if I'd worn my blackface makeup today you could comprehend what I'm saying to you."

The election judge at the site separated the two.

Harris County authorities are investigating the matter.


12:45 p.m.

Apparent technical problems have cause Election Day delays for some voters looking to cast ballots in Harris County.

Houston resident Xenia Kulick says voting was delayed by about 20 minutes after her polling site opened Tuesday, and then problems with registration check-in machines resulted in a long line forming.

The Houston Chronicle reports an election judge at the polling location said iPads, which are used to certify voter registration, were not working for less than 10 minutes.

A Harris County elections official says technical glitches occur periodically and county workers try to move quickly to resolve them to prevent disruptions for voters.


11:55 a.m.

Texas' U.S. Senate race is at the top of voters' minds as they head to the polls.

Republican Amanda Martin, a 40-year-old high school teacher, cast her vote Tuesday in Dallas for Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

She likes that O'Rourke is "more in the middle," adding that her displeasure with President Donald Trump also factored into her decision since Cruz has supported Trump.

But Republican Elizabeth Sharp, a 33-year-old who works in marketing, said that while she thinks Trump is "a little too divisive" and Cruz "probably has a ways to go" as far as inclusiveness, she cast her vote for Cruz.

Octavio Rodriguez, a 45-year-old who works in consulting, said he was excited to vote for O'Rourke, saying, "He represents at least something that counteracts that divisiveness that's going on right now."


11:45 a.m.

A "crowd control exercise" the U.S. Border Patrol planned in Texas on Election Day has been cancelled after being criticized by civil liberty groups.

Border Patrol agent Fidel Baca confirmed Tuesday that the exercise in a Latino neighborhood of El Paso was cancelled, but declined to say why.

The Texas Civil Rights Project says the exercise, billed by Border Patrol as a "mobile field force demonstration," was to be held within a half-mile of a polling site.

The group is seeking an explanation from federal authorities about the intention of the exercise.

The group says in a statement that President Donald Trump "has drummed up anti-immigrant sentiment" and the exercise is "part and parcel of those efforts."

Border Patrol has previously held similar operations: one in South Texas on Monday and another in El Paso last week.


11 a.m.

A Central Texas elections supervisor has resigned after she berated a woman who was apparently confused about where to vote.

Williamson County Elections Administrator Chris Davis told KVUE-TV in Austin that the supervisor resigned in the aftermath of the confrontation Friday and is not working on Election Day. Friday was the last day of early voting.

KVUE broadcast video taken by another voter that showed the supervisor becoming angry with the woman then rising from her chair and yelling, "Get out. Get out. Get out."

Davis says the woman was registered to vote in Williamson County but lives in adjacent Travis County.

He says the woman arrived at the Williamson polling site after being turned away by Travis poll workers.

Davis says workers should have directed the woman to the Travis County elections division so she could have cast a limited ballot.


9 a.m.

Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke says he expects to win his high-profile Texas Senate race against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz - defying the odds in the country's largest red state.

O'Rourke walked from his home in El Paso on Tuesday and voted at a community college, accompanied by his wife and three children. He said he didn't have any polls on which to base his optimism but said his campaign is "bringing people together, I feel it. And so, yeah, I feel good."

Cruz, who cast an early vote in his native Houston last month, says he's confident he'll prevail and was boosted by President Donald Trump's recent visit to Houston.

O'Rourke says an upset win would prove that "Texas is not going to be governed by our fears."


8:15 a.m.

Polls have opened across Texas for Election Day and a strong turnout is anticipated following an early-voting period in which nearly 4.9 million people cast ballots in Texas' 30 largest counties alone.

Polls throughout the state opened Tuesday after a campaign season that featured the much-watched Senate race between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke.

Like other states in what has been a deeply divisive election year, Texas shattered early voting records in big cities for a midterm election.

Fewer than 5 million voters in Texas cast ballots in the 2014 and 2010 midterms, but this cycle could be closer to a high-turnout presidential year.

The Senate race has overshadowed other contests, such as Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's push for a second term against Democrat Lupe Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff.


10 p.m.

The U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke has grabbed most of the attention, but Texas has a full slate of candidates on the midterm ballot.

Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to cruise to re-election, as are fellow Republicans Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Comptroller Glenn Hegar and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is under federal indictment, but still favored.

All 36 congressional seats are up, and the Democrats are hoping to reduce the Republican' 25-11 advantage, especially with races that could be close in Dallas, Houston and a sprawling West Texas district.

All 150 state House seats are up too, as are 15 of 31 Senate seats - though Republican majorities in each look safe.

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