Rep. Mike Conaway (R)
Elected: 2004, 3rd term.
Born: June 11, 1948, Borger .
Education: E. TX St. U., B.B.A. 1970.
Family: Married (Suzanne); 4 children.
Military career: Army, 1970-72.
Elected office: Midland Schl. Bd., 1985-88.
Professional Career: Tax mgr., Price Waterhouse & Co., 1972-80; CFO, Keith G. Graham, 1980-81; CFO, Lantern Petroleum Comp., 1981; CFO, Arbusto Energy Inc./Bush Exploration Comp., 1982-84; CFO, Spectrum 7 Energy Corp., 1984-86; CFO, United Bank, 1987-90; Sr. VP, TX Comm. Bank, 1990-92; Board member, TX Bd. of Pub. Accountancy, 1995-2002, Chmn., 1997-2002; Owner, K. Michael Conaway, CPA, 1993-2004.
The congressman from the 11th District is Mike Conaway, a Republican first elected in 2004. Conaway grew up in Odessa and graduated from East Texas State University, before it became known as Texas A&M-Commerce. He worked as a certified public accountant for, among others, George W. Bush, and was chief financial officer in Arbusto/Bush Exploration during the 1980s. After Bush became governor, he named Conaway to the state Board of Public Accountancy, and Conaway later chaired the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. In May 2003, he finished second in the all-party special primary election in the old 19th District, which included nearly half of the new 11th. In June, he lost by fewer than 600 votes in a hard-fought runoff with Republican Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock, who later won the seat.
|Mike Conaway (R)||189,625||(88%)||($951,802)|
|John Strohm (Lib)||25,051||(12%)|
|Mike Conaway (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (100%), 2004 (77%)
After state Republicans pushed through a new redistricting plan that October, Conaway was the obvious frontrunner for this seat. Democratic Rep. Charles Stenholm, who represented much of the area in the old 17th District, decided to run against Neugebauer in the new 19th District. Conaway’s Republican primary opponent was Bill Lester, a political science professor who campaigned against Bush’s proposed guest worker program. Lester called for the militarization of the border with helicopter patrols to stop illegal immigration. Conaway, a supporter of the Bush immigration proposal, said that increased documentation would strengthen national security by separating “those who are seeking economic opportunity” from “those who would do us harm.” Conaway won 75%- 25%, carrying 33 of the 36 counties and losing only in the eastern part of the district. In the general election, he won easily, 77%-22%.
Conaway has a solidly conservative voting record and wasn’t shy about touting his relationship with Bush. “I believe I will be more effective if the president knows my first name than if he didn’t,” he told his hometown newspaper after he took office. Their relationship paid dividends for Bush. Conaway, who voted against the original $700 billion bailout of the financial services industry in October 2008, voted for the final version after Bush called him to urge his support. Conaway led opposition in 2008 to a bill to require radio stations to pay royalties for playing music, arguing that many small stations might not survive.
In 2007, Conaway, a certified public accountant, joined the executive committee of the National Republican Congressional Committee to take charge of auditing. He uncovered an internal fraud scheme by the committee’s longtime treasurer, who had embezzled almost $1 million. In January 2009, he sought a seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee but was unsuccessful. However, as ranking Republican on the Agriculture specialty crops Subcommittee, he is well-positioned to advocate for local farmers. He has been re-elected without major-party opposition.