Election 2020

Lizzie Fletcher Looks To Hold On To 7th Congressional Seat In Tight Race With Wesley Hunt

Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher is battling Republican challenger Wesley Hunt in her bid for a second term

Wesley Hunt on Twitter / Houston Public Media File Photo (Photo Illustration)

Democratic Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher appears to have a slight edge over Republican challenger Wesley Hunt as the contest in Texas' 7th Congressional District heads into the final stretch.

"The political changes we've seen happen in the nation in the last few weeks have definitely moved several races to favor the Democrats, including this race," said Brandon Rottinghaus, professor of political science at the University of Houston. "Specifically, we're seeing a change in terms of the gender gap. There are significant numbers of females who are breaking from the Republican ticket, and that's benefiting the Democrats, and it'll especially benefit Lizzie Fletcher."

Wesley Hunt, an army veteran, has been focusing his campaign on fighting what he portrays as Democratic threats to oil and gas jobs. He's been trying to make the case that Fletcher is too liberal for the district.

"If Fletcher has an Achilles' heel, it's the energy industry," said Mark Jones, professor of political science at Rice University, "which supports the livelihood of tens of thousands of people in the district. And while Fletcher herself is supportive of the energy industry, she belongs to a party that, if it had its way, would likely terminate the oil and natural gas industry as we know it within the next 10 to 20 years."

The 7th Congressional District stretches across portions of West Houston and western Harris County, including Bellaire and the Cypress area. It was in Republican hands from the mid-1960s until 2018, when Fletcher defeated then-incumbent Congressman John Culberson.

Republicans are anxious to win back a district they held longer than any other in the state. The district is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

"On the one hand, Fletcher is the most vulnerable congressional Democrat in the state of Texas," Jones said. "At the same time, though, both her personal work during her first term as well as her fit for the district probably make her a slight favorite to defeat Wesley Hunt, although Hunt himself is a very strong candidate."

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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