"It's just kind of a bad day for us here, you know," said a farmer.
The cotton farmers felt it first. The impact of the resignation of Rep. Larry Combest. "People who aren't involved in cotton farming have no idea of what he's done for the farm bill," said another farmer.
Shortly after being elected to his tenth term, Combest decided to step down, citing a desire to spend more time with his wife. "My number one priority on this earthly life is her. I told my wife today that if someone told me they were changing their occupation because of the fact that they wanted to spend time with their wife, that it'd be pretty hard for me to argue against it," he said shortly after his resignation in November of 2002.
Within weeks, candidates were lining up to fill the void. "I am a candidate for congress," said David Langston. "I have both national and international experience," said Donald May. "I want to continue serving the people of West Texas," said Randy Neugebauer.
Since Combest's resignation, 17 candidates have thrown their hat into the ring. All hoping to be the next congressman from the 19th district, and willing to spend whatever it took to secure a seat on Capitol Hill. It's estimated that collectively, by the time the polls close Saturday night, the candidates will have spent at least $2.5 million.
"I told my staff that we weren't going to lose with money in the bank," said Carl Isett. He's been favored as the front runner, and within a few hours of poll closings, he'll find out if four terms in Austin and $530,000 were enough to win the favor of West Texas voters.
"Well, I was just making some calls. I want to thank you for all your help on this race," said Isett.