|Poll||Date||Sample||Edwards (D)||Flores (R)||Spread|
|Final Results||--||--||36.6||61.8||Flores +25.2|
|The Hill/Penn, Schoen & Berland (D)||10/19 - 10/21||404 LV||40||52||Flores +12|
|2008: Edwards (D) 53%, Curnock (R) 46%||2008: McCain (R) 67%, Obama (D) 32%|
|2006: Edwards (D) 58%, Taylor (R) 40%||2004: Bush (R) 69%, Kerry (D) 30%|
|2004: Edwards (D) 51%, Wohlgemuth (R) 47%||2000: Bush (R) 68%, Gore (D) 32%|
Texas’s 17th district is anchored in Waco. Waco is the home of Baylor University, and is one of the Democratic anchors of the district (it gave Barack Obama 53 percent of the vote). Further pockets of Democratic voting are found farther to the south in College Station (home of Texas A&M), and Bryan. But the rest of the district votes overwhelmingly Republican, and roughly 1/5 of the district’s votes are found in Johnson County, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. It gave John McCain over 70 percent of the vote in 2008.
Thirty years ago, the Texas congressional delegation was dominated by Democrats like Chet Edwards: white Democrats with conservative voting records who were elected at a young age, enjoyed long careers, and chaired committees by the end of those careers. The 2004 mid-decade redistricting eliminated the last of those Democrats, except for Edwards. Edwards has only been re-elected with more than 60 percent of the vote once since 1994, and in the good Democratic years of 2006 and 2008, received 58 and 53 percent of the vote.
Edwards has voted against most of the Obama administration’s initiatives, but that may not be enough. He faces a top-tier challenger in businessman Bill Flores. Edwards is one of those Democrats who always finds a way to hold on, but the wave coming this year may be too much for him.