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HD-78: Margo vs. Moody Repeat

Second verse same as the first in El Paso’s HD-78, where Republican Dee Margo and Democrat state Rep. Joe Moody will face each other again in the November general election. El Paso businessman Margo beat first-time GOP candidate Jay Kleberg in the race to represent West and Northeast El Paso in the Texas House.

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Second verse same as the first in El Paso’s HD-78, where Republican Dee Margo and Democrat state Rep. Joe Moody will face each other again in the November general election.

El Paso businessman Margo beat first-time GOP candidate Jay Kleberg in the Republican race to represent West and Northeast El Paso in the Texas House.

For Margo, the campaign is his third try for a seat under the pink dome. Margo, 52, is CEO and chairman of JDW Insurance and a well-known El Paso Republican. He ran in 2006 against state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, and lost in the heavily Democratic county. In 2008, Margo beat longtime El Paso state Rep. Pat Haggerty in a nasty GOP primary battle. But he then lost the general election to Moody.

Margo has touted his conservative ideals, promising in a radio commercial to oppose tax increases and to fight Washington mandates. And he said his familiarity with Texas Republican leaders like Gov. Rick Perry would make him effective as a legislator from the get-go.

Margo contends that the 2008 election that put Moody in office was a fluke, and that GOP voters in the district will send him to Austin to retake the seat for the Republican Party.

Contacted late Tuesday night, Margo said he was about to crawl into bed after celebrating his victory and hadn't given much thought yet to the November general election.

"I thought the loss in 2008 was an unusal anomaly," he said. "I don’t think that’s happening again, and we'll have an issues-based race and allow the voters district 78 make a decision."

The race was Kleberg's inaugural run for public office. The 31-year-old corporate recruiter, who grew up on his family's famed King Ranch in South Texas, moved to El Paso in 2004. Kleberg, who was competitive financially and raised $136,700 for the race, hoped to convince voters that he was the Republican who could actually beat Moody in November.

Kleberg said he wasn't ready yet Tuesday night to decide whether he would endorse Margo in the general election. "I really just want to go home to my daughter and my wife," he said. "With clear head, we’ll move on."

Our full primary results are available on the 2010 elections landing page.

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