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GOP-dominated Texas backs Romney, Cruz

Associated Press Modified: November 7, 2012 at 12:45 am •  Published: November 7, 2012

Sadler said he called Cruz to congratulate him.

"It's worth the fight, our state is worth the fight, our country is worth the fight," Sadler said of his long-shot campaign. "We expanded the debate and made people think maybe about issues a little deeper."

Voters waited at least 30 minutes at some Texas precincts earlier in the day although state officials predicted overall turnout likely would be below levels of four years ago.

"I don't think you should take money from people just because they are successful," said Bob Ramey, 61, an El Paso accountant, explaining why he couldn't vote for Obama, who advocates higher taxes for wealthier Americans.

But Ben Hernandez, 59, who owns a construction company with his wife in League City outside Houston, credited the president with a good job in his first term and deserving of their votes.

"He did what he had to do," Mary Sue Hernandez, 52, said. "He came in at the toughest time and he did well."

A tight race unfolded in a sprawling congressional district stretching from San Antonio to eastern El Paso County, where freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco and Democratic state Rep. Pete Gallego swapped slim leads.

And in the election for the seat Republican Ron Paul is leaving along the Gulf Coast, Republican state Rep. Randy Weber narrowly defeated former Democratic Congressman Nick Lampson.

In the winners with surprising backgrounds was Republican former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, who served one term in Congress starting in 1994 but accused the government of "executing" members of the Branch Davidian cult after the siege near Waco. He was headed back to Capitol Hill after waging a low-profile campaign in a district north and east of Houston.

Beto O'Rourke also was going to Congress for the first time from heavily Democratic District 16. He is a guitar-playing, twice-arrested former El Paso city councilman who once advocated for legalizing marijuana but nonetheless stunned eight-term incumbent Silvestre Reyes during the Democratic primary.

All 15 of the Texas Board of Education's seats were also on the ballot. Ten Republicans won and five seats went to Democrats, including Martha Dominguez's victory over GOP incumbent Carlos "Charlie" Garza in an El Paso-area region. Still unresolved, however, is whether social conservatives gained more influence.

Among statewide court races, Republican Sharon Keller won a fourth six-year term as presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Keller gained notoriety in 2007 for closing the state's highest criminal court precisely at 5 p.m., barring a final-hour appeal from a death row inmate who was executed that evening.