The District 33 (Corpus Christi) blog is back in session. I was part of a small group who met today with Solomon Ortiz Jr., the Democratic nominee to replace Vilma Luna and the subject of much commentary from readers (see “Split Decision,” below). He has scads of boyish charm and yet manages to come across as low-key and humble: a born politician. A couple of supporters, one a political consultant and the other Jaime Capelo, a former legislator from Corpus Christi, accompanied him. Among the subjects discussed:

* Why the battle for the nomination with educator Danny Noyola was so close. (Ortiz won the votes of 23 precinct chairs to 20 for Noyola to fill the vacancy created when Luna withdrew from the race): Because influential trial lawyer Mikal Watts used all his powers of persuasion in backing Noyola.

* Whether the disgruntled Noyola faction can split the Democrats in November and deliver votes to Joe McComb, the Republican candidate: Ortiz’s friends said that the Noyola crowd has only “this much” support (thumb and forefinger held apart slightly).

* Whether McComb can raise enough money to win. No, said Ortiz’s friends. They’ll cut off his money from Austin.

* Whether the race will be close: No. Ortiz will get 60 percent of the vote, said one of the friends. Two hot local races, for county judge and for sherriff, will assure a large Democratic turnout.

I still think Ortiz has to watch his back side. Noyola remains a problem, and whether Ortiz can cut off McComb’s Republican money is questionable. What I didn’t know before today is that Ortiz is a formidable candidate with a lot of political skill. He is the favorite to win–but I also felt that way yesterday.

Now, can we talk about something else?