In the end, nothing — not money, TV attack ads or a solid reputation — could save Democrat Martin Frost.
After 26 years in Congress, the dean of the Texas delegation lost Tuesday night to four-term Republican Pete Sessions. Early voting showed Sessions with 58 percent of the vote in the GOP-leaning Dallas district, compared with Frost's 41 percent.
Despite out-raising Sessions, launching several attack ads and 13 terms of service, Frost could not reverse his politicaher House Democrats — by decimating his previous district during redistricting forced in an off-year.
But Frost challenged Sessions in Dallas-area District 32, tailor-made for a Republican. The two shrewd fund-raisers combined collected more than $8 million, making it the most expensive congressional race in the country, according to campaign finance reports.
Voters like Steve Connaster said they were torn between Frost's longevity and genuine devotion to his constituents and Sessions' conservative record and support of President Bush.
"He cares for the people, he really does," the 57-year-old travel magazine owner said of Frost, just after voting for Sessions.
The campaign was a brutal fight, with both incumbents attacking each other in TV ads, campaign literature, debates and every other medium of modern politics.
They nitpicked over sign stealing and the font size on a mailer. They attacked over air security and taxes.
And they embarrassed each other, with Frost unearthing Sessions' college streaking incident and Frost canceling a fund-raising appearance with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary after Sessions brought up the folk singer's 30-year-old child indecency conviction.