In Texas, Hispanic Republicans show the way (Updated)

Russ Vaughn

Amid all the hot air being blown about how Harry Reid and other Democrats were saved by the Hispanic vote, little attention is being paid to the fact that some Hispanic Democrat incumbents were fired and replaced with Republicans. And in the case of Liberal Dem, Ciro Rodriguez of Texas CD23, who was looking for a sixth term and lost to Republican “Quico” Canseco, that firing was by a largely Hispanic constituency.

Interestingly, according to Scott Stroud, writing at the San Antonio Express-News, Canseco made an issue of supporting the Arizona anti-illegal immigrant law and his 63% Hispanic voting population was obviously sympathetic.

As someone who worked with the poor and elderly in San Antonio for several years, I had the misfortune to hear Rodriguez, a social worker by profession, address various groups on multiple occasions. Poor Ciro, he is one of few politicians whose stumbling public speaking skills could make George Bush sound like William Jennings Bryan. That being said, he did manage to stammer and stumble his way through repeated campaigns to victory. In fact, I was quite astounded that Canseco was able to unseat him. Canseco’s campaign should be examined closely and lessons learned should be taken to heart by Republican strategists in 2012.

Long time South Texas incumbent Solomon Ortiz was also tossed by the voters, again in a heavily Hispanic district, in favor of newcomer, conservative, Blake Farenthold, of whom the Corpus Christi Caller-Times had this to say:

The bull elephant in the room is first-time candidate Blake Farenthold’s shocking victory over the longtime incumbent Ortiz Sr. Farenthold is an articulate advocate for a conservative ideology that contrasts sharply with Ortiz but his victory probably has less to do with the strength of his campaign than with voters’ weariness of Ortiz. Other potentially strong candidates chose to sit this one out rather than face Ortiz. Farenthold took the risk and exposed how vulnerable Ortiz was. Now the victor is bound by his campaign rhetoric not to treat his new position as a spoil.

Again, Republican strategists, there are lessons to be learned here. In the coming months, South and West Texas should become the equivalent of an anthropological dig, with researchers uncovering the clues as to what could well portend a sea change in Hispanic voting trends.

Vice-President Rubio, anyone?

UPDATE

From a resident of Texas-23, Ciro Rodriguez district:

Yes, Ciro has been a US congressman for a long time - since 1997. But, there was a massive exercise in redistricting (probably due to the efforts of Delay) which put him head-to-head with Republican incumbent Henry Bonilla in 2006. Since the new district included both Hispanic dems along the Rio Grande and conservative Pubbies in the suburbs of San Antonio and the rural Hill Country, Ciro needed some help to get elected. He got it in the form of some corruption problems with Bonilla, and Ciro came out strong as a 2d Amendment supporter. These two things were just enough to eek out a win against a weakened Bonilla.
.I'm not challenging the basic premise that there appears to be some movement in the sympathies of Hispanic voters, but Ciro's longevity was due to his serving a different demographic for the majority of his career and lucking out with a weakened republican opponent in 2006. And while many Hispanics are indeed concerned about border security and illegal immigration, the 23d CD includes the Rio Grande border area which shelters drug smugglers, cartel enforcers and a substantial population of bail jumpers. This "wretched hive of scum and villainy" would not likely support a conservative for congress..

Amid all the hot air being blown about how Harry Reid and other Democrats were saved by the Hispanic vote, little attention is being paid to the fact that some Hispanic Democrat incumbents were fired and replaced with Republicans. And in the case of Liberal Dem, Ciro Rodriguez of Texas CD23, who was looking for a sixth term and lost to Republican “Quico” Canseco, that firing was by a largely Hispanic constituency.

Interestingly, according to Scott Stroud, writing at the San Antonio Express-News, Canseco made an issue of supporting the Arizona anti-illegal immigrant law and his 63% Hispanic voting population was obviously sympathetic.

As someone who worked with the poor and elderly in San Antonio for several years, I had the misfortune to hear Rodriguez, a social worker by profession, address various groups on multiple occasions. Poor Ciro, he is one of few politicians whose stumbling public speaking skills could make George Bush sound like William Jennings Bryan. That being said, he did manage to stammer and stumble his way through repeated campaigns to victory. In fact, I was quite astounded that Canseco was able to unseat him. Canseco’s campaign should be examined closely and lessons learned should be taken to heart by Republican strategists in 2012.

Long time South Texas incumbent Solomon Ortiz was also tossed by the voters, again in a heavily Hispanic district, in favor of newcomer, conservative, Blake Farenthold, of whom the Corpus Christi Caller-Times had this to say:

The bull elephant in the room is first-time candidate Blake Farenthold’s shocking victory over the longtime incumbent Ortiz Sr. Farenthold is an articulate advocate for a conservative ideology that contrasts sharply with Ortiz but his victory probably has less to do with the strength of his campaign than with voters’ weariness of Ortiz. Other potentially strong candidates chose to sit this one out rather than face Ortiz. Farenthold took the risk and exposed how vulnerable Ortiz was. Now the victor is bound by his campaign rhetoric not to treat his new position as a spoil.

Again, Republican strategists, there are lessons to be learned here. In the coming months, South and West Texas should become the equivalent of an anthropological dig, with researchers uncovering the clues as to what could well portend a sea change in Hispanic voting trends.

Vice-President Rubio, anyone?

UPDATE

From a resident of Texas-23, Ciro Rodriguez district:

Yes, Ciro has been a US congressman for a long time - since 1997. But, there was a massive exercise in redistricting (probably due to the efforts of Delay) which put him head-to-head with Republican incumbent Henry Bonilla in 2006. Since the new district included both Hispanic dems along the Rio Grande and conservative Pubbies in the suburbs of San Antonio and the rural Hill Country, Ciro needed some help to get elected. He got it in the form of some corruption problems with Bonilla, and Ciro came out strong as a 2d Amendment supporter. These two things were just enough to eek out a win against a weakened Bonilla.
.

I'm not challenging the basic premise that there appears to be some movement in the sympathies of Hispanic voters, but Ciro's longevity was due to his serving a different demographic for the majority of his career and lucking out with a weakened republican opponent in 2006. And while many Hispanics are indeed concerned about border security and illegal immigration, the 23d CD includes the Rio Grande border area which shelters drug smugglers, cartel enforcers and a substantial population of bail jumpers. This "wretched hive of scum and villainy" would not likely support a conservative for congress..