Williamson County

Ex-helicopter pilot tries to unseat longtime local congressman

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — National Democrats think they can flip a Central Texas Congressional district but history is against them. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has placed their race against longtime Central Texas Congressman John Carter, R-Round Rock, on their watch list. 

U.S. House District 31 covers all of Williamson County and most of Bell County. It's been held by Carter since 2002. Congressman Carter was first appointed to be a district judge in 1981. He was the first Republican officeholder elected statewide since Reconstruction in Williamson County. 

This year a Democrat and Air Force veteran Mary Jennings "MJ" Hegar is raising more money than Carter and tells KXAN it's time for a change.

"For a long time, the people of this district haven't chosen John Carter over another choice. They were only presented with one choice," said Hegar. 

Hegar is a veteran helicopter pilot and filed a lawsuit against the military to let women into combat roles. 

"He's acting like he's already retired. In the military, we'd call that ROAD, retired on active duty, and that's how he's behaving," said Hegar.

"Well, she doesn't know anything about me. And we've got eons of proof that I'm not out of touch," said Rep. Carter.

He says he flies back every weekend to the district and his public record dwarfs her's. 

"I'm the same person I was the first time I ever ran for office. I haven't changed. When I give my word to do something I do it. When I tell someone I stand for something I stand for it," said Rep. Carter. 

In the second quarter of 2018, finance reports show Hegar brought in more than $1 million in campaign contributions, four times the amount of Carter.

The Center for Responsive Politics reports Hegar and Carter have received close to the same amount of in-state contributions. However, Hegar has much more contributions from out of state, $437,000 to Carter's $120,000.

Voters will make their choice Nov. 6.

To find out more about the candidates, you can check out Hegar's and Carter's campaign websites. 

Extended interview: John Carter

Extended interview: MJ Hegar

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