Elections

Kay Granger wins re-election bid for Congress

Congresswoman Kay Granger (left) and her challenger, Vanessa Adia.
Congresswoman Kay Granger (left) and her challenger, Vanessa Adia.

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger won another term in Congress Tuesday, but will lose her chance to lead the powerful House Appropriations Committee with Democrats regaining the majority.

The Fort Worth Republican won 64.3 percent of the vote, compared to 33.8 percent for Democratic candidate Vanessa Adia and less than 2 percent for Libertarian Jacob Leddy.

But despite Granger’s success at the polls, she faces a letdown as she prepares to return to Washington. Democrats took control of the House, so she loses her chance to chair the appropriations committee.

Granger, who also is a former Fort Worth mayor, has represented House District 12 since 1996.

If the Republican Party had maintained control of the House, Granger had a strong chance of becoming chairwoman of the appropriations committee. The leadership of that committee holds tremendous sway over decisions about where to spend federal money.

These six bellwether districts will help to determine whether the Democrats can engineer a wave election to regain control of the House of Representatives in 2018.

Granger’s leadership is a major factor in the effort to obtain federal funding for Fort Worth’s Panther Island project, a $1.16 billion effort to re-route the Trinity River north of downtown. The project did not receive funding in the federal budget for 2018 or 2019, although supporters say they’re confident that the project will eventually receive all of the $526 million in federal flood control money for which it has already received authorization.

If Granger were able to chair the House appropriations committee, she could have been in a position to closely monitor the progress of the Panther Island project as it works to receive funding for flood control from the Army Corps of Engineers’ budget. The project is often criticized as an expensive way to promote economic development in Fort Worth — by creating a 300-acre island for mixed-use development near downtown — than a flood control project.

The project already has encountered years of delays, as Fort Worth officials worked to obtain federal flood control money.

Granger already serves as chairwoman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

Earlier this year, Granger helped secure more than $654 million in defense spending in an omnibus funding bill. Items funded included 90 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, 14 V-22 Ospreys, two C-40 aircraft for the Marine Corps, 29 Bell AH-1Z “Viper” helicopters and six C-130s for the National Guard. It also included $1.3 billion for National Guard and reserve equipment.

“Fort Worth has many companies and employees who build the very best military hardware, and the omnibus provides $134 billion for new military equipment and upgrades,” Granger told the Star-Telegram in March, when the bill approval prevented a government shutdown. She also said she planned to vie for chair of the House Appropriations Committee next year.

Despite Granger’s strong support, a handful of protesters were outside her Fort Worth office Tuesday afternoon, holding signs and trying to draw the attention of passing motorists.

“Grab them by the ballots,” read one sign.

On Wednesday, Granger sent a statement about the midterm election by email. “I am grateful to the people of the 12th Congressional District of Texas who have given me the honor of representing them for another term in Washington,” Granger said. “Last night, the nation spoke and elected a Democrat House. This is a time of great challenges for America and I had hopes that the results would have been different. I know that with renewed effort, we can win back the House in 2020.”

Adia could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night.

This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796; @gdickson
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