BELTON — The race for Texas’s 31st Congressional District is now set: Air Force veteran MJ Hegar, a Democrat, will face eight-term Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. John Carter in November.
Hegar, 42, easily defeated Cedar Park physician Christine Eady Mann, 53, on Tuesday. As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, Hegar had 62.1 percent to Mann’s 37.9 percent.
The economy and jobs are Hegar’s top issues. At a recent forum in Temple, she explained that Bell County can leverage its proximity to Austin and its existing talent pool at Fort Hood to lure companies to the area.
Health care is another major issue for Hegar. She supports a single-payer health care system in which patients have control and rights as well as providing quality, affordable care.
National Democrats are hopeful that Hegar — who served three tours in Afghanistan as a search-and-rescue pilot — may flip the district. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced in February that it would target District 31.
Although Carter, 74, has easily won this district since it was created in 2002, Hegar may pose a challenge for the congressman. So far, she has raised $510,732 — all of which without taking contributions from political action committees. She even outraised Carter in April.
Still, Carter has an edge on Hegar, having raised $748,527.
Another reason Democrats are watching this race is that President Donald Trump won here by 13 points in 2016 — that’s down from the 20-point margin Republican Mitt Romney had in 2012.