Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Last Congressional Race Settled

Bonilla's hard-line stance on immigration is said to be the major factor in Rodriguez' upset victory.

The last congressional race in the midterm elections went Tuesday night as so many others did over the past five weeks, with a Democrat ousting a Republican from office.

Ciro Rodriguez handily defeated Rep. Henry Bonilla (R) in a runoff election in Texas's 23rd Congressional District, the 36th congressional seat this year that switched from Republican to Democratic hands.

With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Rodriguez had 55 percent of the vote. Bonilla, who was seeking an eighth term, drew 45 percent.

Rodriguez's victory means Democrats will hold a 233-202 advantage in the House.

Rodriguez served from 1997 to 2005 in another district but was defeated in the 2004 Democratic primary by Rep. Henry Cuellar. He lost again to Cuellar this past March in the primary for the 28th District.

But Rodriguez got another chance to run when the Supreme Court ruled in June that a 2003 reconfiguration of the 23rd District was unconstitutional. In August, a three-judge panel redrew the district to add Hispanics, in the process including Rodriguez's home.

Rodriguez, Bonilla and six others were candidates in a free-for-all special election Nov. 7. The goal of the six Democrats running was to keep Bonilla below 50 percent and force him into a runoff. It worked: Bonilla won 48.6 percent of the vote, more than twice Rodriguez's total but not enough to win outright.

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