Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R)
Elected: June 2003, 3rd full term.
Born: Dec. 24, 1949, Lubbock .
Education: TX Tech. U., B.B.A. 1972.
Family: Married (Dana); 2 children.
Elected office: Lubbock City Cncl., 1992-98; Mayor pro tem, Lubbock, 1994-96.
Professional Career: Mgr., Sentry Property Mngt., 1972-75; Instructor, South Plains College, 1975-78; V.P., First National Bank, 1975-82; Pres., Prestige Homes, 1983-87; Pres., Lubbock Land Co., 1987-present.
The congressman from the 19th District is Randy Neugebauer, a Republican who won the seat in a June 2003 special election. Neugebauer (NAW-ga-bower) graduated from Texas Tech, became a banker and then ran his own land-development company. From 1992 to 1998, he was a Lubbock city councilman. His chance for a House seat was prompted by the unexpected resignation, announced a week after the November 2002 election, of Republican Rep. Larry Combest. In the all-party primary, the four leading contenders to succeed Combest were all Republicans. They were Mike Conaway, a Midland accountant, plus three candidates from Lubbock: Neugebauer, state Rep. Carl Isett and former Lubbock Mayor David Langston. Neugebauer was the biggest spender and emphasized his positions on national defense. He focused on his business connections to oil and farming and was helped because Isett—the only active office-holder—was tied down by legislative business in Austin. Langston, who previously won election as a Democrat, pitched himself as a Bush-like “compassionate conservative.” Neugebauer finished first, with 821 more votes than Conaway. Neugebauer won in Lubbock while Conaway swept the Midland and Odessa areas. The runoff featured few differences on the issues, and regional patterns held firm. In the combined vote from Midland and Odessa areas, Conaway won 85% of the vote. In Lubbock County, which cast 47% of the vote, Neugebauer led 71%-29%. Overall, Neugebauer won 51%-49%.
|Randy Neugebauer (R)||168,501||(72%)||($1,052,072)|
|Dwight Fullingim (D)||58,030||(25%)||($41,374)|
|Richard Peterson (Lib)||6,080||(3%)|
|Randy Neugebauer (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (68%), 2004 (58%), 2003 (51%)
He barely had a chance to get settled in the House before the Texas Legislature drew up a new plan for congressional districts in October 2003. The new lines placed the home of 13-term Democratic Rep. Charlie Stenholm in the new 13th District, but that district was almost entirely unfamiliar territory for him and heavily Republican to boot, so Stenholm decided to run in the 19th against Neugebauer. Stenholm was arguably the last conservative Democrat from Texas in the House. He and party-switching former Rep. Phil Gramm were leaders of the “Boll Weevils” backing Republican President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 budget and tax cuts. Stenholm was also one of only five Democrats who voted to impeach Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1998. In their 2004 showdown, most of the advantages—the district’s partisan tilt, the fact that Neugebauer had represented 58% of its residents and Stenholm only 31%—favored the Republican. Both candidates promised to protect farm subsidies. Stenholm emphasized his social conservatism, his dedication to West Texas constituent services, and his independence as a Democrat. He criticized Neugebauer’s ads that suggested he supported abortion rights and sought to link Neugebauer with then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, who was increasingly mired in an ethics scandal. The Texas Farm Bureau, which earlier honored Stenholm as “one of the giants of Texas agriculture,” endorsed Neugebauer. He won 58%-40%, capturing 22 of the 27 counties. In Lubbock, Stenholm trailed 65%-33%. In his base of Abilene, which cast half as many votes as Lubbock, Stenholm led 50%-48%.
In the House, Neugebauer has been a reliable conservative, and he has seats on the Agriculture and Financial Services committees. In 2009, he was named the ranking Republican on the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Subcommittee. In 2004, the House passed his amendment to add $3 billion for drought assistance to farmers, which was offset by a reduction in payments for a farm conservation program. The measure was added to the disaster aid bill for hurricane victims that President Bush signed into law in October 2004. During debate in 2007 on the 2008 farm bill, he introduced amendments, knocked down by Democrats, to prevent indexing food stamps to inflation and to bar members of Congress from directing Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds to specific industries. He has defended farm subsidies for his district after the Environmental Working Group listed it as the nation’s fourth-highest recipient of crop subsidies. On Financial Services, Neugebauer said in 2006 that post-Katrina reconstruction of public housing in New Orleans would be “the second worst disaster” in the city’s history. With Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill., he passed an amendment to the housing rescue bill in 2008 that strengthened the regulations of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage giants.
Neugebauer easily won re-election in 2006 and 2008.