DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Republican Beth Van Duyne won the open 24th Congressional District seat in a close race that was watched closely by both political parties in Washington, D.C.
In an interview Tuesday, Nov. 10, Van Duyne said, “We have worked really hard. We’ve had tons of volunteers, thousands of volunteers who worked hard in the last year and a half so we were thrilled we won.”
Democrat Candace Valenzuela conceded Tuesday morning, and in a video her campaign released she said, “After a thorough count of the votes, I concede this race. Congratulations to Beth Van Duyne on her victory here in Texas 24.”
Van Duyne beat Valenzuela by 4,606 votes according to results posted by Dallas, Tarrant and Denton County elections administrators.
Valenzuela won Dallas and Denton counties, but Van Duyne had a wider margin of victory in Tarrant County.
That allowed Republicans to hold onto one of their seats that Democrats had hoped to flip.
The district’s current Congressman Kenny Marchant is retiring.
Democrats didn’t gain any new Congressional seats in Texas.
Van Duyne said Democratic candidates weren’t in the mainstream. “I think you saw that with the Democratic Party across the country, it was the radical far-left. Quite honestly, most people don’t want that. They wanted opportunity to thrive.”
She will now become the third female member of Congress from North Texas and only the second Republican woman in Texas ever to be elected to a full term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Van Duyne said she is not one to focus on identity politics but policy. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We need to focus on jobs, we need to focus on healthcare options, making sure people have access to affordable healthcare and high-quality healthcare.”
Van Duyne has opposed the Affordable Care Act, calling it a failure because she said it has increased costs and decreased quality.
The former Irving Mayor said she has another immediate priority.
“We’re also going to need to work on bringing unity to this area, across the country. We just see everybody divided, and I’m very anxious to be able to work with my fellow colleagues on the issues that are very important to our citizens.”
The former regional HUD Administrator in the Trump administration said she hopes the President’s legal challenges to the election will be given serious consideration.
When asked if Congress needs to pass voting reforms, Van Duyne said, “I think we need to work and make sure the American people have trust in the process, that every vote is being counted, and that every vote that got made is a legal vote.”
President-elect Joe Biden has vowed a stronger federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic and said he will call on Governors and Mayors to enact mask mandates.
In response, Van Duyne said, “I think the states are in the best position to be able to decide for the states and locally and what is best for their communities. We need to have our economy open, that we have our kids back in school and it has to be a focus on that.”
Van Duyne said now that the election is over, she’s hoping Congress can agree on another round of coronavirus relief that’s temporary and targeted. “Having talked to so many small business owners over the last several months and what that’s done to them and the help they need, my hope and my desire is that we’ll be able to focus in and on the people who need help the most.”
WATCH FULL INTERVIEW HERE
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