Rep. Chet Edwards, an imperiled Democrat deep in the heart of Republican territory, finds exiting American Legion Post No. 273 slow going. Supporters and well-wishers keep stopping him.
The wife of a World War II veteran hugs him. Several men line up to shake his hand. Another woman talks to him for about 10 minutes, thanking him for his work on military issues, bringing jobs to this farm and ranching town of about 4,700 and, in her words, thinking for himself.
"You've done a good job," said Donna Smith, 50, an office manager and a Republican who says she will vote for Edwards again this year. Later, she said Edwards "has proven himself and shown that he can get things done."
"I hope people will look at him and his record," Smith said, "and not just believe what's being said about him."