U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess was headed to an easy victory over two political newcomers in his bid for re-election to the 26th Congressional District, capturing about 83 percent of the vote in incomplete returns in Tuesday’s Republican primary.
Burgess will face Libertarian candidate Mark Boler in the November general election. No Democrat filed for the office.
Burgess’ two challengers — Highland Village businessman Joel Krause, 55, and Lewisville resident Divenchy Watrous, 26 — both said they were frustrated with the current leadership. But neither was able to unseat the incumbent despite their claims that they could relate better than Burgess to the average person’s struggles.
People’s frustrations with the federal government came through to him loud and clear during the campaign, Burgess said Tuesday night.
“We do make a real effort to make sure I’m accessible,” he said.
That’s meant some town hall meetings with constituents were pretty rough, but worth it, Burgess said.
“They are worried about the spending and the debt, and the impact it will have on those who come after us,” he said.
Burgess, 63, of Lewisville, is a former obstetrician and gynecologist who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003. He serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and as vice chairman of both the Subcommittee on Health and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
He also is a member of the Energy and Power Subcommittee and the Rules Committee. In 2009, he founded the Congressional Health Caucus, of which he is co-chairman.
Krause, president of Web Electronics in Lewisville, said his 28 years of business experience gave him the skills to relate to the average resident. Krause did not return a call for comment Tuesday night.
Watrous, CEO of a small business, said he was pleased with how many votes he got, given how many apathetic voters he encountered during his campaign.
“I’m thrilled that I got more than 100 votes,” Watrous said.
He described himself as a candidate for freedom and liberty and said he thought a lot of incumbents will be getting their “pink slips” in the coming years as more liberty candidates step forward.
Congressional members are paid $174,000 and serve two-year terms. Members represent their geographic districts in the House, where they plan and pass federal legislation.
The 26th District includes all of Denton County and some parts of Tarrant and Dallas counties.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.