The decision by Governor Perry to set the runoff for the 23rd congressional district on December 12 is a big boost for incumbent Henry Bonilla and may deter national Democratic strategists from making a major financial commitment to Ciro Rodriguez. By choosing the earliest possible date for the run-off, Perry narrows the window for Rodriguez (and, more to the point, the national Democratic party) to try to overcome Bonilla’s sizeable advantage in fundraising and name identification. Fewer than three weeks remain to produce TV spots and mailers to reach voters. Another problem for Rodriguez is that December 12 is the feast day for the Virgin of Guadalupe. This could detract from Rodriguez’s Hispanic turnout but won’t affect Bonilla’s Anglo support. While Rodriguez supporters will criticize Perry, a Democratic governor would have set the date to the advantage of his party’s candidate. This is just one of the many prices Democrats pay for being out of power.
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