Sabato's "Crystal Ball" rates two TX GOP seats as vulnerable
Thu January 27, 2011 10:19 am

The two are the former Solomon Ortiz seat won by Blake Farenthold and the former Ciro Rodriguez seat won by Francisco "Quico" Canseco. Obama carried the Rodriguez seat by 51% in 2008 and the Ortiz seat by 53%.

I'm surprised that anyone would bother to rate the competitiveness of these districts at this time--that is, before redistricting. Of the two seats, I would rate the Canseco seat as more vulnerable, for a couple of reasons: (1) San Antonio has a number of young Hispanic wannabes who could challenge Canseco, starting with mayor Julian Castro, his brother Joaquin, state senator Carlos Uresti, whose district overlaps Canseco's, and House members Villarreal and Martinez-Fischer. (2) The South Side of San Antonio, which is the heart of the district, does a good job of turning out the vote in presidential years. (3) Canseco is no ball of fire. In Canseco's favor, it is easy to redraw the district to include several Hill Country counties that would make the district safely Republican.

The Farenthold district, on the other hand, does not look vulnerable to me. The Coastal Bend has been trending Republican in recent years. Corpus Christi does not have any Democratic political talent (two Democratic state legislators having lost their seats), but it is conceivable that state senator Eddie Lucio, of Brownsville, could take advantage of the greater population that lives in the southern part of the district. The problem for Farenthold is that it is not easy to redraw the district to make it more Republican. The Valleny counties are heavily Democratic, and the district would have to be taken into the brush country north of Alice to make it more Republican.  

As I said, this is really jumping the gun to rate congressional races in districts whose maps haven't even been drawn yet. But you know that Republicans are going to want to solidify the Hispanic districts they picked up in South Texas.

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