December 22, 2006

Rodriguez stuns Bonilla in Texas runoff

By Bob Cusack

In a major upset, former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) defeated Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) in a runoff for the 23rd district of Texas.

Rodriguez not only beat Bonilla, he triumphed easily over the 7-term incumbent 55-45 percent. Rodriguez’s victory will give Democrats 234 seats in the House next year, with 200 Republicans and one Florida district race still in dispute, though that seat is expected to go to the GOP.

Bonilla came within one percentage point of avoiding the runoff on Nov. 7. Still, he was the favorite in the Tuesday runoff because of his huge fund-raising advantage and the make-up of the district.

The runoff stemmed from a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that found that Texas Republican leaders violated the Voting Rights Act in redrawing the district. A three-judge panel subsequently altered the district, pulling in many Hispanic voters from Bexar County.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) touted the Rodriguez win in a release: “From every corner of the country and even this newly drawn district in Texas, American families made crystal clear that they trust Democrats to take our country in a new direction.”

Reprinted from “The Hill”, The Newspaper for and about the U.S. Congress.

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