Gallego Defeats Rodriguez in Texas 23
State Rep. Pete Gallego won the Democratic primary runoff in Texas's 23rd Congressional District Tuesday, setting up a hotly anticipated general election matchup with freshman Republican Rep. Quico Canseco in the fall.
With 89 percent of precincts reporting, Gallego led former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez 54 percent to 46 percent. The Associated Press called the primary for Gallego.
Earlier in the night, Gallego released a statement thanking Rodriguez for his service and firing an opening salvo in the general election. "To my opponent, Quico Canseco, I would say this: extremist priorities are wrong for our families," Gallego said in the statement. Later, he continued: "This race is about electing a Congressman understands the special culture and communities that make up San Antonio, the south Texas border, and El Paso -- not one who works for Washington."
Rodriguez, who was defeated by Canseco in 2010, finished first in the three-way May primary with 46 percent of the vote. But Rodriguez failed to appreciably improve on his margins in any part of the district, while Gallego sucked up the remainder of the non-Rodriguez vote both in the San Antonio-area, Rodriguez's base, and in Gallego's less populated West Texas home turf.
With Gallego, national Democrats and Democratic-aligned groups got the challenger they wanted. Rodriguez's anemic fundraising caused worries that outside groups would have to carry his campaign in the general, and his House voting record was a further barrier. The League of Conservation Voters based part of an independent expenditure campaign against Rodriguez on his vote against cap and trade in 2009.