Texas Republicans fighting off Democrats in battleground congressional races

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Texas Democrats are hoping to flip several congressional seats held by Republicans on Election Day. The GOP, meanwhile, is aiming to take back seats it lost in 2018. Credit: Douliery Olivier/ABACA via REUTERS

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Texas Republicans largely held off Democrats' ambitious goal of taking several U.S. House seats from the GOP late Tuesday night.

The Texas congressional delegation was at status quo — with several key races still too close to call — as no incumbent had yet lost their race before midnight and no seats had flipped parties.

At least five Republican incumbents whom Democrats targeted cruised to reelection, according to races called by Decision Desk HQ. U.S. Rep. Chip Roy of Austin beat former state Sen. Wendy Davis in the 21st Congressional District, which includes parts of Austin, San Antonio and the Hill Country. U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston, defeated Democrat Sima Ladjevardian in the Houston-based 2nd Congressional District. Crenshaw is a rising star within Texas Republican politics.

Similarly, U.S. Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, also held off a challenge from Democrat Lulu Seikaly in Collin County's 3rd Congressional District. U.S. Rep. Roger Williams of Austin fended off Democrat Julie Oliver to retain his 25th Congressional District, which includes Austin and a large swath of rural Central Texas. And U.S. Rep. John Carter beat Donna Imam to keep his 31st Congressional District north of Austin.

The race for the 10th Congressional District remained uncalled. But Mike Siegel, the Democratic opponent to U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul of Austin, conceded the race late Tuesday night.

U.S. Rep. Ron Wright of Arlington was leading his Democratic challenger, but that race was too close to call, according to data from Decision Desk HQ.

In the 22nd Congressional District, Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls beat Democratic former diplomat Sri Kulkarni for a seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, according to Decision Desk HQ.

In the perennial battleground 23rd Congressional District, which runs along the Texas-Mexico border and is also open due to a Republican retirement, GOP candidate Tony Gonzales and Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones were in a tight race that was too close to call, according to Decision Desk HQ data.

And in the 24th Congressional District, a largely suburban North Texas seat, former Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne led over former Carrollton-Farmers Branch school board member Candace Valenzuela, according to Decision Desk HQ data.

Those GOP leads and wins came near the end of an election cycle in which Texas was the centerpiece of the U.S. House Democratic offensive. Buoyed by narrowed congressional margins in Republican districts in most of the metropolitan areas, the House Democratic campaign arm opened a satellite office in Austin to continue its advances. As a result, both parties spent tens of millions of dollars in the state, and Texans faced an onslaught of political advertising this fall.

Two Democrats who flipped Republican districts in 2018 held on to one seat and led the race for another. U.S. Rep. Colin Allred of Dallas won his race and U.S Rep. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher of Houston was leading in hers, according to Decision Desk HQ data.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, a Republican who lost reelection in 2018 to Allred, will return to Congress. Decision Desk HQ called the race for Sessions, who relocated to the open 17th Congressional District, which is rooted in Waco, Bryan-College Station and the rural areas in between.

Three new members-elect in safe Republican seats also won their races, according to Decision Desk HQ. In the 4th Congressional District that covers the northeastern part of the state, State Sen. Pat Fallon will replace John Ratcliffe, who is now director of National Intelligence. Retired Air Force officer August Pfluger will replace retiring U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway in the 11th Congressional District, which includes a large portion of West Texas. And former White House physician Ronny Jackson will replace retiring U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry in the sprawling 13th Congressional District that covers the Panhandle and a large swath of the Texas-Oklahoma border.