Incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Rogers is staying in Washington.
Rogers defeated Democratic challenger Mallory Hagan in the race for the 3rd Congressional District, which includes Auburn and Auburn University.
Rogers, 60, won his ninth term representing East Alabama. Incomplete unofficial results at about 11 p.m. Tuesday showed Rogers winning the race with about 63 percent of the vote to Hagan's 37 percent with 84 percent reporting.
"We are thrilled that the voters of East Alabama have given us a ninth term in the United State Congress," Rogers said. "All of you who campaigned for us, who donated to us, you made this possible. The fact that we were able to have this high percentage, again, in the face of what was expected to be a blue wave is because of you."
The Republican will be returning to Washington in the minority for the first time since 2010. Democrats are projected to win control of the U.S. House.
Rogers said he has a more positive outlook for the Senate, where Republicans are expected to gain seats and solidify their majority.
Hagan, 29, was one of Rogers' first viable challengers in the nearly two decades he's been serving in the U.S. Congress. Hagan, a former Miss America and local television news anchor, had name recognition uncommon for Democrats in the 3rd Congressional District.
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Rogers was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002. Before that, he served in the Alabama House of Representatives as minority leader. His first public office, though, was on the Calhoun County Commission.
Throughout the campaign, Rogers seemed unconcerned with Hagan's challenge. Hagan tried to take advantage of Democratic enthusiasm on college campuses and in the district's larger cities, but failed to turn out enough vote to make a dent in Rogers' lead.
Hagan blamed the Democratic Party for her loss in a passionate speech at her watch party after Rogers was officially declared the winner, mostly citing the party's lack of financial support for herself and other new candidates.
"I think that there's a real effort to control power in the Democratic Party here in our state," Hagan said. "What we need to see is new leadership."
Though Rogers had numbers, Hagan's support base was dedicated. She held numerous campaign events throughout the district and had a strong base of volunteers.
"My message to anyone who voted for us in hopes of change is that change starts with all of us individually," Hagan said. "If you phone bank, phone bank more. If you canvass, canvass more. If you’re a part of a community organization, give more hours. We have to start in our local communities and neighborhoods in order to see effective change."
Rogers ran a low-key campaign, refusing to debate Hagan with the excuse that he didn't want to raise her profile by engaging in a debate.
“Why would I want to help her look more credible?” Rogers asked at a campaign stop in Auburn recently. “It’s not my job to get her elected.”
Rogers maintained strong fundraising numbers throughout the campaign, ending the last filing period with $1,219,665 to Hagan's $376,154.
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