Wednesday, December 13, 2006

We win!

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Texas's 23rd Congressional District, that is. Democratic challenger Ciro Rodriguez, a former congressman, defeated Republican incumbent Henry Bonilla in a run-off vote yesterday. Bonilla received almost 49 percent of the vote in last month's election but was reduced to 45 percent in the run-off:

Turnout for the runoff — the result of a court-ordered redistricting that reconfigured the normal election process in the district — was low.

This was in part because the Nov. 7 elections across the nation had already given the Democrats a decisive majority in their successful campaign to end a dozen years of Republican dominance in the House.

In fact, one of Rodriguez’ biggest added advantages in the runoff campaign was that he could boast of being a member of the House majority if he were to be elected — something he could not definitively claim before the primary, which coincided with the national Election Day.

Turnout also likely was affected by the fact that the runoff, a rare event in Texas politics, was held less than two weeks before Christmas.

Regardless, this is a big victory for Rodriguez, who defeated a fairly popular incumbent and his well-funded machine in a reconfigured district that seemed to favour the Republicans.

The House now looks like this:

  • Democrats: 233
  • Republicans: 202
Which is pretty impressive.

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