New Texas congressman packs bags

June 4, 2003 at 11:55 AM

LUBBOCK, Texas, June 4 (UPI) -- Newly elected West Texas Congressman Randy Neugebauer packed his bags Wednesday for Washington.

Neugebauer defeated Mike Conaway in Tuesday's runoff between two Republicans to succeed retiring Rep. Larry Combest. Neugebauer won by a slim 1.2 percent but Conaway said he would not seek a recount.

"It's very humbling to have come out on top," said Neugebauer, who plans to leave Wednesday or Thursday for his new career in Washington.

Combest's retirement, announced a few days after the Republican easily won re-election last November, was a shocker for District 19 where he had served since 1985. The chairman of the House Agriculture Committee said he wanted more time with his family.

Gov. Rick Perry called a special election and 17 candidates entered the race. Neugebauer and Conaway received the most votes and went on to the runoff race to determine Combest's successor.

Neugebauer, 53, will take over Combest's seats on the agriculture and small business committees and complete Combest's term, which expires at the end of 2004. Neugebauer has not decided if he will run for a full, two-year term next year.

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