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Burgess wins GOP nomination

Profile image for Dalton LaFerney
Dalton LaFerney

Republican incumbent Rep. Michael Burgess was still awaiting the results from the race between Democrats Linsey Fagan and Will Fisher for U.S. House District 26 late Tuesday night.

By late Tuesday, with only about 60 percent of district precincts reporting results, Fagan extended her lead to about 389 votes over Fisher.

The Republican side was mostly noncompetitive from early votes on into Tuesday night, but the Democratic contest was undecided as the final votes were tallied. From early votes, Fisher had the lead, but as the night went on, Fagan's support from the southern part of the district boosted her into a race too close to call near midnight.

District 26 covers a large portion of Denton County, including Denton, Lewisville, Corinth, Highland Village and Little Elm, as well as parts of Tarrant and Dallas counties.

Burgess supporters began their celebration around 7 p.m., when the early voting results were posted. It was clear to many supporters that he would win because early votes alone gave Burgess a 13,000-vote cushion over his opponent, Veronica Birkenstock, in Denton County. That lead only accelerated as the overall votes were counted.

"I am very gratified and humbled by these results," Burgess said. "This has been a pretty hard race, and a lot of hard work has gone into it."

Support for Birkenstock's campaign sprouted from church groups around Frisco, but voters there did not show up with enough support to boost her to victory. Toward the end of the night, Birkenstock was down by more than 28,000 votes against Burgess.

Ahead of the election, Birkenstock said her experience as a lobbyist in Washington would convince voters that she could be an effective representative there. Well before election night, however, people in the Denton County Republican Party here questioned whether Birkenstock could reach enough voters. Throughout the campaign, it was routine for her to be away from District 26, on trips to Washington, D.C., with her campaign manager Lisa Hendrickson.

Calls to Birkenstock and Hendrickson were not returned by press time. Burgess said Birkenstock had not reached out to congratulate him on his victory.

As President Donald Trump continues his second year in office, Burgess said he will continue to be a reliable conservative for Republicans. The Democrats, however, want to end Burgess' career on Capitol Hill during the general election in November.

Before the race was over, Fisher said the voter turnout among Democrats was "fantastic." Fagan could not be reached before deadline.