Veteran Dem lawmaker says stimulus could cost him re-election

Edwards, who's served in the House since being elected in 1990, said he stood by his vote to approve the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in early 2009.

"It may cost me votes. It may cost me an election," Edwards told the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News. "But it was the right thing to do."

Republicans have long attacked the stimulus bill as a waste of taxpayer money that failed to create jobs in any appreciable way, especially compared to White House estimates of the package's effects when the administration was trying to sell the bill.

Democrats, for their part, argue the economy would be in much worse shape and would have shed more jobs if not for the stimulus bill and other measures undertaken by the Democratic-held Congress to boost the economy.

Edwards is facing a tough reelection challenger from Republican candidate Bill Flores — a race in which Edwards described himself now as an "underdog."

"I'm the underdog," he said. "I don't mind saying we are behind. I relish being the underdog."

The tough race has resulted in Edwards looking to distance himself from Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who once floated Edwards's name in 2008 as a potential vice presidential candidate, in his bid for another term.