Republican candidates square off for Edwards seat - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

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Republican candidates square off for Edwards seat

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By Henry Rosoff

WACO - Waco residents Rob Curnock and Chuck Wilson, and Bryan/College Station residents Bill Flores, Timothy Delasandro and Dave McIntyre are all Republicans trying to gain the District 17 congressional seat in Texas.  Tuesday night they had their first debate.

They all united in their disdain for the Obama administration and the current 17th District Congressman Chet Edwards.

"I have a real problem with the government trying to interject itself in every segment of our society," Curnock said.

"I'll refer to them as the R-O-P-E gang, Reid, Obama, Pelosi and Edwards, and they're trying to rope our country into oblivion going down a socialist path," Flores said.

"It's not the intent of the Democrats to build an actually sound system," McIntyre said. "They're not supposed to have enough jobs, not supposed to have enough taxes.  The socialist construct is to crack the economy to build a system that can't pay for itself so the government has to take it over."

Each of the five candidates is hoping to do in Texas what Scott Brown did recently in Massachusetts, capitalize on a Republican resurgence.

The Democrats are struggling with healthcare reform and President Barack Obama's approval ratings are dipping.  This could mean incumbent Democratic congressmen in conservative districts, like Edwards, could be in trouble.

However, Baylor political analyst Dr. Gayle Avant said Democrats possibly being in trouble, and unseating Edwards, are two completely different stories.

Avant noted that the congressman did not support healthcare reform in the House of Representatives and that he has survived close campaign after close campaign through the years.  He also pointed to Edwards coming through in 2000 when the Republican dominated state government changed his district.

"Chet Edwards won," Avant said.  "As a campaigner he really is quite formidable."

The Edwards campaign said the congressman is ready for a tough race.  His spokesman points to 1.3 million dollars already raised this year.

"Chet continues to earn the respect of Central Texas Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike," the spokesman said.  "He is in a strong position for the campaign ahead."

Avant agrees, adding that November is still far off.

"If the recession appears to be shallower than people expect, and if the President's initiatives to restrain spending seem to be succeeding, it's going to be hard to estimate how much the Democratic loss will be," he said.

The primary will take place March 2nd.

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