Rep. Pete Olson holds onto U.S. District 22 seat as Sri Kulkarni concedes


Unlike some of his counterparts nationally, Republican incumbent Rep. Pete Olson has earned re-election despite a serious challenge mounted by Democratic candidate Sri Preston Kulkarni.

Olson recieved 152,318 votes, or 51.4 percent, to 137,500 for Kulkarni.

“I respect the man; he called and said, ‘You won fair and square,'” Olson said. “He also said, ‘Let’s you and I work together to resolve our differences’ … and I said ‘I’m on board with that.’ Maybe coffee or breakfast in December.”

With control of the House now in Democratic hands after Tuesday, it means the political calculus changes for Olson and his Republican colleagues.

“It’s a bit of a hollow victory, lots of good friends are going home after tonight, and that’s a bit bittersweet,” Olson said. “I was in the minority when I was first elected, so I’ve been there. … I hope we can find places where we can agree to work together to make this state and country better.”

Kulkarni attracted national attention for running a multilingual campaign with aggressive door-to-door outreach and town halls to engage voters in the one of the most diverse Congressional districts. Olson said he had to match those efforts as well.

“You have got to run to the finish line. I reached all the parts of the county and had the highest vote margin of any other Republican. My campaign team is the best,” Olson said.

Kulkarni enjoyed a surge in fundraising in the final months of the campaign, raising over $1.2 million, according to his campaign’s most recent finance report. Olson, a five-term incumbent, raised over $1.44 million and had strong leads in early voting totals for both Brazoria County and Fort Bend County, where most of District 22 falls.

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Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.
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