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Opponents make amends

Nov. 9, 2006

Staff writer

Chet Edwards didn't celebrate his victory with supporters the afternoon after winning the 17th congressional district, but rather sat across a lunch table from Republican candidate Van Taylor.

"Van asked Chet to lunch last night when he called him to concede," said Casey Phillips, Taylor's campaign manager. "It was to bury the hatchet. Campaigns get tough and gloves come off, but in the end we are all fighting for a better cause."

Edwards and Taylor ate lunch at the Olive Branch on Wednesday.

"It was a private lunch between the two of them," Phillips said. "They discussed the campaign and results of the elections last night."

Political science professor Dr. Gale Avant didn't see the lunch as anything out of the ordinary.

"Generally speaking candidates agree at a 90 percent level, but the campaign focuses on issues which they disagree," Avant said. "It's common from candidates to express good wishes to each other."

Edwards defeated Taylor by 30.24 percent with a margin of 16,010 votes on Tuesday.

Dr. David Nichols, professor of political science, was "happy to see Edwards stay and perform an important bridge role between the parties."

"If he (Edwards) was less conservative he probably wouldn't get elected in this district," Nichols said. "It's good to have more conservative democrats and more liberal republicans."

At 8:01 a.m. Wednesday morning, Edwards called the Veteran's Affairs Administration in Washington and told them it was time to make the final decision to keep the Waco VA Hospital open, said Jessica Shafer, Edwards spokeswoman.

"Chet Edwards is a very competant congressman and politician," Avant said. "He is also very sensitive to the special needs of this congressional district."

As of now, Taylor plans to stay in West where he owns a real estate firm, but future descisions are between Taylor and his wife, Phillips said.

"(Edwards) respected (Taylor's) run, his servings in a Iraq and all the sacrifices he made," Schafer said.

"We have not been focusing on anything except November 7th, and it didn't turn out how we liked," Phillips said. "But this is not the last time we will hear from Van Taylor."