After months of campaigning, the race for the Congressional seat for District 19 has narrowed from 17 candidates to two. Republicans Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock and Mike Conaway of Midland were the last men standing when all the ballots were counted on Saturday night.
Neugebauer ended the night with 22.3% of the vote. Conaway had 21.2% of the vote. They were less than 1,000 votes apart. Now, the men will face each other, in one final leg of the race to Washington.
From the campaigns they ran, to the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent, to the message they stand for, two men stood out to voters across West Texas.
"We are so excited about this opportunity to continue running for your next United States Congressman," Randy Neugebauer said to a crowd of supporters.
"I understand from the votes just now that we have made the runoff," Mike Conaway said to his supporters.
Two celebratory parties at two different ends of the district. Now, a new campaign begins.
"I don't think it will change much. We'll continue to kind of run our district wide campaign and certainly reach out for new voters. Some of the voters who voted for other candidates we certainly want to reach out to them also, so I think we just continue doing what we're doing. It was successful for us to get to this point, and I don't see why we'd change our strategy," Randy Neugebauer said.
But Mike Conaway, says having only two candidates changes the race.
"At this point and time, you begin to compare and contrast yourself with one candidate. There will be more time at the forums to talk about issues and solutions to problems that we face, so it will just be a different race all together," Mike Conaway said.
In the end, Neugebauer and Conaway have the same goal, they both are asking for the opportunity to make West Texas a better place.
"The idea is to get them convinced of my ideas for uniting District 19, the idea of getting the economy going, of tax cuts, of defending our borders and our homeland, and really getting our economy going is the single biggest issue that I've heard from everybody from one end of the district to another," Conaway said.
"I think voters should know that who I am is a lot of how we ran our campaign. We focused on the issues, we worked hard, and we ran a campaign that people were proud to be a part of, and that's kinda the way, that's the Congressman we intend to be, so I think they can trust us with their vote, and we're going to be asking them to do that," Neugebauer said.
Conaway says he too can be trusted with your votes, even though his roots aren't in Lubbock.
"It's not about where I live. District 19 is 19 counties. It's a very diverse district. We've got rural and urban cities to deal with, and so while Larry Combest did a great job of representing all of the district, I think Mike Conaway can do a great job of representing all of District 19," Conaway said.
Both candidates felt they were running a strong campaign throughout, and look forward to this next month. The run off election will likely be June 7th.