U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, will serve a fourth two-year term representing Texas’ 17th Congressional District after an emphatic victory Tuesday over two challengers. Flores received more than 61 percent of the vote, beating out Democrat William Matta’s 34.5 percent and Libertarian Clark Patterson’s 3.7 percent. Flores garnered 140,717 votes, Matta 78,846, and Patterson received 8,458 votes.

“I want to thank the voters of District 17, particularly those in McLennan County, for the continuous support they’ve given to me,” Flores, 62, said Tuesday night. “I will continue to try to earn their trust as we move forward during the next two years.”

Flores, who spent 30 years in the oil and gas business, is chair of the Republican Study Committee, which includes more than 170 House Republicans.

Republicans were projected to maintain control of the U.S. House of Representatives as of late Tuesday night.

“I feel pretty good about the direction we’re headed right now,” he said. “It’s still going to be a long night, but so far, so good.”

Matta, 65, is a longtime McLennan Community College department chair who had never run for public office. He said his run was a “very positive experience,” and he was glad the campaigns remained clean and free of mudslinging.

“For young Democrats, milennials, those who want to direct this country a little bit or take control of the direction of this country — which I think has shifted too far to the right — it’s time for the younger generation to get engaged,” Matta said.

He said he would likely run again if he felt that was the will of the people.

Patterson, an Austin photographer, lives outside the district. In 2012, he ran as a Libertarian for Texas’ 1st Congressional District and received less than 2 percent of the vote, losing to Louie Gohmert.

Patterson also congratulated Flores and said the result was predictable.

“I’m just hoping that the congressman next term will go back to work on cutting the federal debt and cutting the federal deficit and actually trying to do what he can do, no matter who wins at the top,” Patterson said. “There’s obviously billions of dollars here, there and yonder to cut. I’m just hoping the congressman thinks of his two sons and his grandchildren. Obviously, if this generation doesn’t get the job done, it’s going to fall to the next generation.”

District 17 includes all or parts of McLennan, Bastrop, Brazos, Burleson, Falls, Freestone, Lee, Leon, Limestone, Milam, Robertson and Travis counties.

Flores defeated Republicans Ralph Patterson and Kaleb Sims in the March primary, receiving 72 percent of the vote.

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