DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In the midst of many Republican gains, the Associated Press announced that Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson had defeated her challenger for District 30 U.S. Representative despite a nationally publicized scholarship scandal.
Her opponent, Republican Stephen Broden, didn’t want to discuss the race, and refused to concede until all votes counted. With 77 percent of precincts reporting, however, Broden was trailing by 54 percent of the vote.
“We’re just sort of waiting to see what the final tally will be,” Broden said. “And as long as the night is young, we have hope.”
Half an hour later, Broden was again asked about Johnson’s large lead in the race.
“It sounds like, at this point, at least preliminarily, she’s out in front and has run a race very successful for her,” the pastor at the Fair Park Bible Fellowship said. “She has been there for 18 years and knows how to rally her troops.”
Broden would still not concede the race.
In August, officials with the Congressional Black Caucus, of which Johnson is a member, announced that 23 scholarships she handed out since 2005 had violated eligibility rules.
Each member in the caucus receives $10,000 in scholarship money to give to individuals in the community. She reportedly steered scholarships to four family members and two children of one of her aides.
Broden, however, has made harsh comments toward President Barack Obama, and last year at a rally in North Richland Hills said he would advocate a violent overthrow of the government.
“All that was taken out of context,” said Adryana Boyne, one of Broden’s campaign managers. “The people who know Stephen Broden know he’s a very peaceful man. He was speaking in a metaphorical manner when he was talking about that.”
Before results were in Tuesday, Dallas County experts said it was likely that voters in southern Dallas County would forgive Johnson and vote for her. As much as 80 percent of District 30 is black or Hispanic, many of whom consider themselves Democrats. His controversial comments did not go over lightly.
“You hear a little bit about Congresswoman Johnson, but folks are saying ‘look at her record of 17 years in Washington, and over 20 years prior to that in Austin’,” said Dallas journalist and radio talk show host Cheryl Smith.
When asked if his comments damaged his campaign, Broden, who has ties to the Tea Party and the support of Sarah Palin, said he didn’t know.