Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2010, 2nd term.

Born: December 12, 1961, Corpus Christi, TX

Home: Corpus Christi, TX

Education: U. of TX, B.A. 1985, St. Mary's U., J.D. 1989.

Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1989-95; Owner, Farenthold LLC, 1995-2010; Radio host, 1999-2010.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Episcopalian

Family: Married (Debbie) , 2 children

Republican Blake Farenthold edged out 14-term Democratic Rep. Solomon Ortiz in one of the most surprising GOP wins of 2010, and then emerged as the big winner in Texas redistricting with a more solidly Republican district.

Farenthold was born and raised in Corpus Christi, where his family has farmed for three generations. His father died when Farenthold was 11 years old, and his mother raised him and his younger sister alone. His family is known for strong women. His grandfather’s second wife is Sissy Farenthold, a Democratic state legislator and a pioneer of the women’s rights movement who was a serious contender to be George McGovern’s presidential running mate in 1972.

Blake Farenthold studied radio, film, and television at the University of Texas in Austin. After earning his law degree, Farenthold joined his step-grandfather’s law practice, focusing on agricultural law. He became dissatisfied with the legal profession, and in 1995, launched a computer consulting and website design firm. In the late 1990s, he also began dabbling in radio again, appearing as an occasional guest on a morning show to talk about computer-related issues. The job gradually became more regular until Farenthold became a sidekick on the program Lago in the Morning on Corpus Christi’s news radio station KKTX. Farenthold aired many of his conservative views and gained local name recognition.

He was motivated by his opposition to the national Democrats’ health care overhaul to run for Congress in 2010. He faced a tough fight for the Republican nomination against Corpus Christi real estate agent James Duerr, who campaigned on a similarly conservative platform. Duerr edged out Farenthold in the March primary by 2 percentage points, but Farenthold prevailed in the April runoff, 51%-49%, after drawing on his personal wealth (the Center for Responsive Politics estimated his average net worth for 2011 at more than $24 million) to outspend Duerr.

In the general election against Ortiz, Farenthold was a decided underdog. Ortiz had built a moderate voting record in a Hispanic-majority district, and he was a senior member of the Armed Services Committee who had shepherded money to local projects. The incumbent also had a considerable fundraising advantage. Farenthold raised $616,000, including about $150,000 from his own pocket, compared with Ortiz’s $1.2 million.

The Republican’s campaign also suffered a credibility deficit after images surfaced of Farenthold wearing pajamas featuring yellow ducks while out for a night on the town with a young woman wearing what appeared to be a sheer nightie. Ortiz touted the photograph, which was widely circulated on the Internet, in his campaign ads as evidence that his opponent could not be taken seriously. But Farenthold’s campaign picked up steam with the support of local tea party activists. On Election Night, the contest was too close to call, and a recount was ordered. Ortiz conceded to Farenthold on November 22 after the recount showed the incumbent behind by 799 votes.

In the House, the first bill Farenthold introduced would require federal agencies to display receipts and expenditures every two weeks on their websites. He also actively supported legislative riders attached to the fiscal 2011 funding bill, including one to ban funding for Planned Parenthood. He became disillusioned with House Republicans’ inability to cut spending deep enough to his liking. “What I’m coming to realize is that all we’re really able to do is put the brakes on,” he said in Robert Draper’s 2012 book Do Not Ask What Good We Do. “Imagine going real fast in a Flintstones car, and my heel is out there. I went to Washington to change the world, and all I can do is put my heel out.” He also lamented what he saw as the party’s inability to get its message across: “What the Democrats can say in two emotion-packed sentences take us 10 PowerPoint slides.”

He took over in 2013 as chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s panel on the federal workforce and expressed concerns about agencies’ spending on outside conferences. He also sponsored a bill to shield federal workers from furloughs as a result of automatic and steep budget cuts that kicked in that spring after the White House and Congress failed to reach a budget accord.

Farenthold initially was a top Democratic target in 2012. But the final court-approved Texas redistricting map gave his district— which had been 73% Hispanic—a strong GOP bent by stretching it north along the Gulf Coast. It also kept out precincts in suburban Houston, enabling him to avoid a serious primary challenge. He beat Democrat Rose Meza Harrison 57%-39%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-7742

(202) 226-1134

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1027
Washington, DC 20515-4327

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-7742

(202) 226-1134

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1027
Washington, DC 20515-4327

DISTRICT OFFICE

(361) 884-2222

(361) 884-2223

101 North Shoreline Boulevard Suite 300
Corpus Christi, TX 78401-2837

DISTRICT OFFICE

(361) 884-2222

(361) 884-2223

101 North Shoreline Boulevard Suite 300
Corpus Christi, TX 78401-2837

DISTRICT OFFICE

(361) 894-6446

(361) 894-6460

5606 North Navarro Street Suite 203
Victoria, TX 77904-1758

DISTRICT OFFICE

(361) 894-6446

(361) 894-6460

5606 North Navarro Street Suite 203
Victoria, TX 77904-1758

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(361) 882-5253

5601 Ocean Drive
Corpus Christi, TX 78412-2751

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

5601 Ocean Drive
Corpus Christi, TX 78412-2751

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Blake Adami
Legislative Director

Agriculture

Jeffrey Wilson
Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Blake Adami
Legislative Director

Appropriations

Jeffrey Wilson
Legislative Assistant

Budget

Blake Adami
Legislative Director

Campaign

Jeffrey Wilson
Legislative Assistant

Communication

Blake Adami
Legislative Director

Disaster

Jeffrey Wilson
Legislative Assistant

Economics

Blake Adami
Legislative Director

Environment

Jeffrey Wilson
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Jeffrey Wilson
Legislative Assistant

Foreign

Blake Adami
Legislative Director

Health

Blake Adami
Legislative Director

Intelligence

Blake Adami
Legislative Director

Judiciary

Sasha Moss
Policy Advisor

sasha.moss@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-7742

Medicare

Blake Adami
Legislative Director

Military

Jeffrey Wilson
Legislative Assistant

Native Americans

Jeffrey Wilson
Legislative Assistant

Recreation

Blake Adami
Legislative Director

Rules

Blake Adami
Legislative Director

Small Business

Jeffrey Wilson
Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Blake Adami
Legislative Director

Veterans

Jeffrey Wilson
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Blake Farenthold
Votes: 120,684
Percent: 56.75%
Rose Harrison
Votes: 83,395
Percent: 39.22%
2012 PRIMARY
Blake Farenthold
Votes: 28,058
Percent: 70.78%
Trey Roberts
Votes: 4,653
Percent: 11.74%
Don Middlebrook
Votes: 3,676
Percent: 9.27%
John Grunwald
Votes: 3,256
Percent: 8.21%
2010 GENERAL
Blake Farenthold
Votes: 51,001
Percent: 47.84%
Solomon Ortiz
Votes: 50,226
Percent: 47.12%
Ed Mishou
Votes: 5,372
Percent: 5.04%
2010 RUNOFF
Blake Farenthold
Votes: 4,742
Percent: 51.33%
James Duerr
Votes: 4,496
Percent: 48.67%
2010 PRIMARY
James Duerr
Votes: 6,368
Percent: 32.4%
Blake Farenthold
Votes: 5,921
Percent: 30.13%
William Vaden
Votes: 4,268
Percent: 21.72%
Jessica Puente-Bradshaw
Votes: 3,097
Percent: 15.76%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (48%)

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