TX-23: Ciro Rodriguez Wins!
Let's review how we got here, shall we? Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla was first elected in TX-23 in 1992. Democratic Rep. Ciro Rodriguez was first elected in nearby TX-28 in 1996. In 2002, Democratic former Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar, came within 2 points of defeating him. The Texas Republican redistricting scheme of 2003 protected Bonilla, making TX-23 quite a bit more Republican, and moving most of Laredo, Cuellar's power center, into TX-28.
So in 2004, Cuellar switched districts to challenge Rodriguez in the Democratic primary and successfully ousted him, and went on to win the general election. Rodriguez continued campaigning through to the March 2006 Democratic primary, in which he narrowly lost to Cuellar, despite the fervent and ultimately inconsequential support of Casual Soapbox.
Then, in June 2006, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the TX-23 drawn in 2003 violated the Voting Rights Act, and a three-judge panel redrew a district that was much less favorable to Bonilla, and included Rodriguez's strongholds in San Antonio. Rodriguez decided to challenge Bonilla in the newly redrawn TX-23.
After dropping out, and getting back in, Rodriguez won the right to participate in a runoff this November by coming in second with 20.3% to Bonilla's 48.1%. Well, the runoff was today. And Rodriguez won. With 54.57% to 45.43% with 97% of precincts reporting.
And that makes 30 seats the Democrats picked up from Republicans this election cycle. Hmm... that number sounds familiar... It looks like my predictions were almost all right. If only Hatch hadn't stuck his foot in his mouth, it could have been perfect...
Anyway, I think it's awesome that Ciro Rodriguez will now be in Congress. And in defeating Bonilla, he knocked down a Republican who had statewide potential. And it appears he did it handily. Not a bad night. Not bad at all.