Roe wins re-election, but Republicans lose House

Nathan Baker • Nov 6, 2018 at 11:00 PM

Rep. Phil Roe easily won re-election to his sixth term Tuesday, but changes in the U.S. House of Representatives may jeopardize his influence on his prized Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Roe, a Johnson City Republican, bested Democratic challenger Marty Olsen, gathering 77 percent, or 159,224 votes to Olsen’s 44,307, for the 1st District seat.

Although Roe did his part, his party did not keep hold of its majority in the House, losing key races and control of the chamber to Democrats.

With new leadership coming, the committee chairs put in place by Republicans will likely be replaced, including Roe, who ascended to lead the Veterans Affairs committee in 2017.

“Clearly I would like to maintain the chairmanship, but Mark Takano, (D-Calif.), is likely to be the person there or Julia Brownley, (D-Calif.), and I’ve worked closely with them and I’m going to continue to work hard to focus like a laser beam on veterans’ issues,” Roe said Tuesday night after Fox News called the House for the Democrats.

As one of the few veterans in Congress with a medical background, Roe said there’s no question he’ll have a seat on the committee.

In addition to veterans issues, Roe said he’ll also continue to focus on fighting the opioid epidemic threatening the country and Tennessee specifically.

Though somewhat bittersweet, the congressman said he was celebrating his party’s solid showing in the Senate, where Republicans retained their majority, and his outstanding showing in his district.

“I’m just very humbled,” he said. “Three out of four people in the district voted for me, and that’s very humbling after six terms. I can’t thank the people enough and my family for their support through this. They’ve helped me a lot.”

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