Posts Tagged ‘Ciro Rodriguez’

The Second Most Important Race in Texas: CD23

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The most important Texas political race is obviously the Texas Senate race. Barring any unforeseen catastrophe, I fully expect Ted Cruz to soundly thump Paul Sadler in November.

The second most important Texas race is for the 23rd Congressional District, where Republican Francisco “Quico” Canseco eked out the second closest win over a Democratic congressional incumbent in 2010, beating Ciro Rodriguez by a little over 7,000 votes. Rep. Blake Farenthold’s win over Solomon Ortiz in the 27th congressional district was the closest Texas CD race that year, decided by a mere 799 votes, but the 27th was made considerably more Republican in redistricting, going from voting for Obama by 53% of the vote to a mere 40% of the vote under the new district lines.

The legislature was not able to reenforce Canseco’s sprawling district to nearly the same extent, and it was only made slightly more Republican, going from a 51% Obama district to a 50% Obama district. That, plus the power of incumbency and $1 million cash on hand (as of June 30) give Canseco a real fighting chance to hold the seat. His Democratic opponent, Pete Gallego, spent all his money to beat Rodriguez in the runoff, but this is still the only decent shot Texas Democrats have to defeat a incumbent Republican congressman this year, so expect the usual big Democratic donors (unions and trial lawyers) to come to his rescue.

Heritage ranks Canseco a solid (if not exceptional) conservative at 72%, higher than the (lamentably low) Republican House average of 65%, but 50 points better than even the best Texas Democratic representative (Henry Cuellar).

If you were looking for a Texas congressional race where your donations might help Republicans hold a tough seat, this is the one.

A few recent tidbits about the race:

  • Canseco will be a speaker at the Republican National Convention.
  • Canseco is not a fan of the TSA fondling his junk. Maybe he’ll help eliminate this useless agency.
  • Meanwhile, Gallego has overhauled his staff for the fourth time.
  • Random Texas Runoff Tidbits

    Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

    I intend to do a comprehensive roundup of why Ted Cruz won the Senate race, and why David Dewhurst lost, but it’s such a big subject I’m having trouble getting started. There’s entirely too much to talk about, and I’m still digesting all the ramifications.

    So instead, here are a few other random observations from last night’s runoff:

  • Republicans now have two Hispanic candidates running for statewide office: Ted Cruz at the top of the ballot (just below President) for United States Senate, and Elsa Alcala for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Place 8. Number of Democrats nominated for statewide office in Texas in 2012: Zero. (Even the Libertarians have more statewide Hispanic candidates than the Democrats this year, which is to say they have one.)
  • Actually, the Libertarians more candidates running statewide than the Democratic Party does. And the Greens (five) have just as many.
  • Donna Campbell stomped Jeff Wentworth, taking two-thirds of the vote against a long-time incumbent which (absent a serious scandal) is almost unheard of. However, the result isn’t the “upset” some newspapers are proclaiming it, since Elizabeth Ames Jones split the anti-Wentworth vote in the primary, indicating deep dissatisfaction with the very establishment incumbent.
  • Tom Maynard edged Rebecca Osbourne in the State Board of Education District 10 race, 36,099 votes to 35,120. I’m sure that Holly Hansen will be pleased.
  • As expected, Paul Sadler beat Grady Yarbrough for the Democratic Senate nomination. Sadler is about to find out that when members of the national Democratic Party promised him adequate funding if he won the primary, they were engaged in what is commonly known as “lying.”
  • Republican U.S. Congressional Race runoffs: Ron Paul-endorsed Randy Weber beat Felicia Harris in CD14, Roger Williams beats Wes Riddle in CD25 (Last Williams Standing, and I think the only Senate race dropout to win their new race), once and future congressman Steve Stockman (part of the Gingrich wave in 1994) beat Stephen Takach in CD36. Plus longshots in two heavily Democratic districts: Dale A. Brueggemann over Eddie Zamora in CD15 to face incumbent Ruben Hinojosa, and Jessica Puente Bradshaw over Adela Garza to take on Filemon Vela in new “minority opportunity” CD34.
  • Pete Gallego beat former congressman Ciro B. Rodriguez for the chance to take on Republican incumbent Francisco “Quico” Canseco in CD23. Canseco took the seat away from Rodriguez in 2010, and CD23 is essentially the only realistic opportunity Democrats have to flip a Texas U.S. congressional seat this election.
  • The Tea Party is alive and well not only in Texas, but also in Georgia, where voters rejected a consultant pocket-lining mass transportation tax hike supported by the Republican governor.
  • July 19: Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson announces he’s supporting Dewhurst. July 31, 7:52 PM (just minutes after Dewhurst’s concession speech to Cruz): announces he’s running for Dewhurst’s current office: “I have great respect for Lt. Gov. Dewhurst. However, I’m running for LtGov in 2014.” And his campaign website is already up.
  • Ciro Rodriguez Blinks

    Friday, March 9th, 2012

    In the game of District 35 Chicken, Ciro Rodriguez decided that no, he didn’t want to face off against Lloyd Doggett’s 18-wheeler full of money and swerved aside. Instead he’s going to run against Republican incumbent Francisco “Quico” Canseco for the 23rd Congressional District seat Rodriguez lost to him in 2010. But before that, he has to get past State Rep. Pete Gallego, who has been running for the 23rd for months and tried (unsuccessfully) to warn Rodriguez off what is now likely to be a very bruising Democratic primary fight. (John Bustamante, son of yet another former Democratic congressmen, is also running, but with only $3,000 in his campaign coffers, I see no sign that he has gotten any traction, whereas both Rodriguez and Gallego have broken the $100,000 mark.)

    More Redistricting Fallout

    Friday, March 2nd, 2012

    Now that redistricting is (mostly) settled (for this year), reverberations are still being felt around the state in various races. First a correction: Candidates have until March 9 to file, not the March 6 date I reported yesterday.

    Other tidbits:

  • Republicans have a list of newly filed candidates, including former winery owner John Yoggerst running against Lloyd Doggett in District 35.
  • The Democrats don’t have a separate page, but you can sort by date on the main candidate page. So far there are only a couple of new Sheriff filings.
  • Following yesterday’s roundup, Democrat Pete Gallego is warning fellow Democrat Ciro Rodriguez not to jump into the District 23 congressional race against Republican incumbent Francisco “Quico” Canseco (who unseated Rodriguez in 2010). Rodriguez is currently running against Lloyd Doggett in District 35.
  • For the second election in a row, Solomon Ortiz has been booted. Ortiz Sr. was defeated by Blake Farenthold in 2010, and now Solomon Ortiz, Jr. is calling it quits from the Texas House because “District 33 has been eliminated.” I was going to make fun of him for exaggerating, but dang, he has a point: District 33 has gone from Corpus to NE of the Metroplex.
  • Finally, not Texas, but Dennis Kucinich’s district was eliminated in Ohio’s redistricting, forcing to run against fellow Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur. (Cue the nelson.jpg.) That primary is March 6. At least he’ll have someone to console him is he loses…
  • Texas Congressional Redistricting Breakdown

    Thursday, March 1st, 2012

    I’ve been reading up a bit more on the compromise redistricting lines released by the San Antonio district court. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot was able to keep most of what the legislature passed, and the Governor signed, intact, but a few changes were made to satisfy Democratic demands to win in court what they couldn’t at the ballot box settle lawsuits by various minority interest groups under the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

    Though U.S. Congressional Districts, State Senate Districts, and State House districts were all affected by the new maps, I want to focus on three U.S. Congressional Districts, including some shown in this map here:

  • District 35: Lloyd Doggett may not be gone, but District 35, the one Doggett plans to run in, is now 65% Hispanic and mostly based in San Antonio. And the recriminations have already started among Democrats: “If Lloyd Doggett would man up and spend that $3 million he’s been hoarding for the last decade, then we could have an extra Democratic seat.” Doggett dodged a bullet when District 20 incumbent Charlie Gonzalez (son of long-time Congressmen Henry B. Gonzalez, who held the office before him) announced he was retiring, letting up-and-comer Joaquin Castro run for that seat instead of 35, but there’s no shortage of San Antonio-based Democratic contenders, including Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector Sylvia Romo. (There are two Republicans running for District 35, Susan Narvaiz and Rob Roark, both of San Marcos, but given that the new district went for Obaama by 63%, it’s going to be quite an uphill climb for any Republican.) One of the candidates currently running in District 35 is former Democratic Congressman Ciro D. Rodriguez (who is very pissy indeed about redistricting), who previously represented:
  • District 23: This seat is currently held by Republican Francisco “Quico” Canseco, who beat Rodriguez by a little over 7,000 votes in 2010. The redistricting map passed by the legislature made Canseco’s district more Republican, but the compromise district scales back Republican gains. It’s now slightly more Republican (50% of the new district voted for Obama in 2008, down slightly from 51% in the old district), but it’s still close enough that Democrats have to consider this a prime takeover target. Still, Canseco now has the power and name recognition of incumbency, and even if Obama wins (doubtful and frightful, but possible), I doubt his coattails will be particularly long in San Antonio. Texas State Rep. Peter Gallego is the likely Democratic candidate, but so far Canseco is beating him in the fundraising race over three to one. (Disclaimer: Canseco is one of two U.S. congressional candidates I donated to in the 2010 election cycle (three if you count attending a couple of John Carter’s picnics at $10 a pop).)
  • District 27: This is the district where Republican Black Farenthold narrowly edged Democratic incumbent Solomon Ortiz in 2010. (Despite the narrowness of the result, Ortiz announced he wouldn’t be trying to reclaim his old seat.) The interim map successfully makes Farenthold’s seat more safely Republican; Obama pulled 53% of the vote in the old district, but only 40% in the new. Farenthold also has a considerable fundraising advantage. The Democratic who raised the most for that race is Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos. However, Cameron County is now in District 34.
  • All in all, Texas Republicans expect to pick up two to four U.S. Congressional seats thanks to redistricting, which looks extremely doable.

    And now we finally have election dates:

  • March 2: Filing for office reopens
  • March 6: Filing closes again
  • May 14: Early voting begins
  • May 26: Early voting ends
  • May 29: Primary Day
  • June 7-9: Republican and Democratic state conventions
  • July 31: Primary Runoff
  • References

  • Interactive Redistricting Map
  • The Texas Congressional Delegation
  • FEC Page for Texas Congressional and Senate Fundraising
  • List of 2012 Texas Republican Congressional Candidates
  • List of 2012 Texas Democratic Congressional Candidates
  • The Texas Redistricting Blog
  • Over on the left side of the Blogsphere, the Kos Kids have put up the a breakdown that includes numbers on how each District voted in the 2008 Presidential race.
  • LinkSwarm for Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Thursday, October 28th, 2010

    So much election news, so little time to write about it:

    (Hat tips: Real Clear Politics, Fark, NRO’s The Corner, and probably some I’ve forgotten. I’m dancing as fast as I can.)

    Here’s a Site Estimating Republicans Will Gain 57 Seats in the House

    Monday, October 18th, 2010

    According to Freedom’s Lighthouse. I don’t know much about them, so caveat lector.

    Among the races BattleSwarm has previously covered, they show the following incumbent Democrats losing:

    • Suzanne Kosmas (FL 24)
    • Trent Van Haaften (IN 8 ) (not an incumbent, running for Brad Ellsworth’s open seat)
    • Gary McDowell (MI 1) (not an incumbent, running for Bart Stupak‘s open seat)
    • Steve Driehaus (OH 1)
    • Kathy Dahlkemper (PA 3)
    • Paul Kanjorski (PA 11)
    • Chet Edwards (TX 17)
    • Ciro Rodriguez (TX 23)

    So, all eight of the vulnerable democrats I profiled here are currently down as GOP flips.

    Further, Charles Wilson (OH 6) is rated as a tossup.

    Again, I’m not that familiar with the source, so take this with a grain of salt, and just another data point on how high the tidal wave might reach.

    Why did Maryland Trail Lawyer Mel Sykes give Ciro Rodriguez $2,350?

    Monday, October 18th, 2010

    No, really, I want to know. And though I have donated to Rodriguez’s opponent Francisco Canseco (more coverage of the race here), I don’t mean that in an ominous, scary voice-over attack ad sort of way. I’m genuinely curious.

    I believe that this is the Mel Sykes in question. He seems to be involved in Asbestos and mesothelioma litigation, among other things.

    Looking through that list of Rodriguez contributors, a lot of the donations are pretty typical for an incumbent Democratic congressman. Lots of donations from local business leaders, plus lots of money from DC lobbyists, such as:

    And, of course, lots of money from unions.

    Those I all understand. Those are fairly typical Democratic incumbent donations. But Sykes seems to be an actual litigator rather than a lobbyist. And according to Rodriguez’s official congressional website:

    Today Congressman Rodriguez serves on the House Committee on Appropriations where he sits on the Homeland Security; Transportation, Housing & Urban Development & Related Agencies; and Legislative Branch Subcommittees. He also sits on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs where he is a member of the Subcommittee on Health and the Subcommittee on Assistance & Memorial Affairs. Congressman Rodriguez remains a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) where he serves as the Chair of the Taskforce on Agriculture and Rural Communities.

    Maybe I’m just ignorant of the inner workings of some of those committees, but none seem directly related to mesothelioma or general litigation, which would (I believe) fall under the purview of the Committee on Education and Labor’s Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee and the House Judiciary Committee, neither of which Rodriguez appears to be on.

    Granted, trail lawyers (like Big Labor) love Democratic incumbents. But why the donations from this particular Maryland lawyer to Ciro Rodriguez? If you have any idea, post below or email me.

    (One of the most disappointing things about pursuing Rodrigeuz’s donor list is the fact that former Republican congressman and current lobbyist Jack Fields gave him $2,000, a sad example of William F. Buckley’s aphorism that “By the time one of our people get into a position of power, they’re no longer one of our people.”)

    Selected House Democrats Who May Be Swamped By The Coming Tidal Wave

    Monday, October 11th, 2010

    So how bad are Democratic House members doing this election? According to the National Journal, pretty bad. They count 60 seats among the most competitive and another 19 very close. Of those 79 House seats in play, 72 are currently held by Democrats.

    As for where Democrats are spending their money, six of the seven districts the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is spending money on went for Obama by more that 54%. They say that they’re trying to “nail down” relatively easy seats before moving on to harder ones, but that makes absolutely no sense; if you really want to help the marginal seats, you start helping them out first, because they need the most work. No, this smacks of triage, and suggests that the DCCC considers most districts below that line as good as gone.

    There are a number of interesting races and names that should be familiar to regular BattleSwarm readers, either from being in Texas or having been mentioned here before:

    • Chet Edwards (TX 17) comes in at #7. (I would say that Edwards is the last remnant of the old Texas Blue Dogs, but I didn’t know that Henry Cueller (TX-28) was an actual member of the Blue Dog Collation, which Edwards is not.) Edwards voted against ObamaCare and Cap-and-Trade, but did vote for the Stimulus and the TARP bank bailout. District is heavily Republican; went for Bush by 68% in 2000, 70% in 2004, and 67% for McCain. His opponent is Bill Flores.
    • Suzanne Kosmas (FL 24) comes in at #9 on the list. You may remember this BattleSwarm piece on her back when she was a wavering no vote on ObamaCare; as I predicted, she was easier to flip to a Yes vote that Rep. Jason Altmire (PA 4), who I also profiled, and who stuck to his no vote. Which goes a long way toward explaining why Kosmas is likely to lose her seat, while Altmire isn’t on the list of endangered Democrats. Go figure. She also voted for the Stimulus and Cap-and-Trade. (Kosmos was first elected in 2008, so she didn’t vote on TARP.) District went for Bush in 2000 by 53%, Bush in 2004 by 55%, and McCain by 52%. Her opponent is Sandy Adams.
    • Indiana’s open 8th congressional district, held by Brad Ellsworth, who is leaving for a Senate run (which polls show he’s currently losing by 17 points), comes in at #11. The contest is between Democrat Trent Van Haaften and Republican Larry Bucshon. Ellsworth was of the theoretically Pro-Life members of the Bart Stupak bloc that rolled over for Nancy Pelosi on ObamaCare. District went for Bush by 57% in 2000, 62% in 2004, and for McCain by 51%.
    • Paul Kanjorski (PA 11) comes in at #15. Another Stupak bloc turncoat. Voted for TARP. Voted in favor of the Stimulus, but evidently decided oversight was so unimportant that he that he only attended three of the ten Pennsylvania Stimulus Oversight Board meetings. Has a reputation as a big spender: “Asking Paul Kanjorski to make sure our tax dollars are being spent wisely is like asking John Dillinger to keep an eye on the bank safe.” (IBID). Yesterday’s LinkSwarm mentioned how he earmarked $10 million for a business run by his own family. District went 54% for Gore, 53% for Kerry, and 57% for Obama. His opponent is Lou Barletta.
    • Steve Driehaus (OH 1) comes in at #16. Another Stupak-blocer who rolled over to let Nancy Pelosi rub his furry belly. In addition to ObamaCare, he voted for the Stimulus and Cap-and-Trade. (He was elected in 2008, and so didn’t vote on TARP.) District went 51% for Bush in both 2000 and 2004, but only 44% for McCain. His opponent is Steve Chabot, who held the seat for 12 years before Driehaus edged him 52%-48% in the Obama wave of 2008.
    • Kathy Dahlkemper (PA 3) comes in at #20. Yet another turncoat Supak-blocer Pelosi flipped for ObamaCare. Also voted for the Stimulus but against Cap-and-Trade. Wasn’t in Congress when TARP was voted on. District voted 51% for Bush in 2000 and 53% in 2004, and McCain edged Obama by a mere 20 votes in 2008. Her opponent is Mike Kelly.
    • Speaking of Stupak, Michigan’s open 1st congressional district comes in at #35. Realizing that his betrayal of his Pro-Life position to pass ObamaCare made him electoral toast, Stupak declined to run for reelection, leaving the battle to Democrat Gary McDowell and Republican doctor Dan Benishek. District went for Bush by 52% in 2000 and 53% in 2004, but 50% for Obama.
    • Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23) is off the list of top 60 races, but shows up in the “Knocking on the Door” section. Another Stupak bloc turncoat. In addition to ObammaCare, he voted for the Stimulus, but against Cap-and-trade and TARP. His district went for Bush by 54% in 200 and 57% in 2004, but for Obama by 51%. His opponent is Francisco “Quico” Canseco. Rodriguez came to national attention recently thanks to his defensive tone when constituents asked him to defend his vote on ObamaCare:

    Time permitting, I’ll try to do additional posts on each of those races, plus a few others (including some longer shots that just might pay off in a tidal wave year). But if you’re looking for places your campaign contributions might be the most effective at unseating Democrats, the challengers linked to above are certainly worthy of your consideration.