1903Ciro Rodriguez twice changes mind about running
- Aug 31, 2006http://www.elpasotimes.com/breakingnews/ci_4268406
08/31/2006 05:57:00 PM MDT
Ex-Rep. Rodriguez may run after all (5:52 p.m.)
Times wire report
Former U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez is reconsidering his
options after saying earlier today that he was
dropping out of the race to try to unseat Republican
incumbent Henry Bonilla.
Rodriguez's spokeswoman, Gina Castaneda, said people
who heard that he was leaving the race called and
visited Rodriguez's campaign offices to encourage him
not to drop out simply because of a lack of funds.
She estimated the campaign had received much more than
$2,000 in pledges and donations today.
"It's not about money, it's about voters," Castaneda
said. "He's just been humbled" by the support.
Castaneda said Rodriguez was unavailable for comment
late Thursday but said he planned to decide by the end
of Friday whether to stay in the race.
Rodriguez had announced his decision unofficially
Wednesday night during a meeting of the San Antonio
Central Labor Council.
"I'm not going to be running and that's my decision
based on family and personal reasons," Rodriguez said
Thursday morning, adding that he hadn't raised enough
money to put up a competitive campaign.
His campaign was $80,000 in debt at the end of June,
but Rodriguez said early Thursday that had been
reduced to $7,000.
"That's part of it, you've got to have the resources
to make things happen," he said. There were "resources
I was expecting to be able to kick in that I will not
be able to."
Rodriguez, 59, was one of six Democrats who filed to
run in the special election in 23rd Congressional
District, which has been represented by Bonilla, R-San
Antonio, since 1992 when he was first elected.
The district is one of six holding special elections
Nov. 7, the same day as the general election.
A federal three-judge panel redrew the districts this
month in response to a June Supreme Court ruling that
said a 2003 redistricting of Texas' congressional map
- led by former House Majority leader Tom DeLay -
created a 23rd District that violated the Voting
Rights Act by diluting Hispanic voting strength.
The special races pit all certified candidates against
one another in each district, regardless of party. If
no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top
two vote-getters in each district will face each other
in a runoff in December. Rodriguez served in Congress
from 1997 to 2005. He has a wife, Carolina, and a
daughter, Xochil, who is in law school in Austin.
"I think it makes him look very indecisive and I have
to wonder what kind of leadership he's trying to
convey," Phil Ricks, a spokesman for Bonilla, said of
Rodriguez twice lost in Democratic primaries to Rep.
Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, in the 28th District, but
with the newly configured district found himself in
One independent, Craig T. Stephens, 47, also filed to
run in the district.
The other Democrats who filed to run in District 23
are August G. "Augie" Beltran, 58; Rick Bolanos, 57;
Adrian DeLeon, 31; Lukin Gilliland, 54; and Albert
Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams will certify
the names of candidates by Sept. 6.
Besides the five special elections related to
redistricting, Texas Gov. Rick Perry ordered this week
a Nov. 7 special election for the 22nd Congressional
District to temporarily replace resigned U.S. Rep. Tom
DeLay resigned in June, but his congressional term
doesn't expire until January. The winner of the
special election will fill his seat until then. In
January, the winner of the general election will take
Bonilla is seeking an eighth term. The district
stretches from San Antonio to the Texas-Mexico border
and out to far West Texas.
Under the new map, Bonilla's district includes the
heavily Hispanic and Democratic neighborhoods of south
Bexar County, and includes part of his hometown of San
Antonio, where his mother still lives.
Before the GOP-led Texas Legislature redrew the lines
in 2003, Bonilla's support among Hispanics in his
district was slipping. The lines were reconfigured,
scooping some Laredo Hispanics into Cuellar's
neighboring district, to give Bonilla an edge over a
Democratic candidate. He won re-election under that
plan in 2004.
Cuellar's district now includes all of Laredo and Webb
The new 23rd District has 61 percent Hispanic
voting-age population, compared to the 51 percent
Hispanic voting-age population in the district in
which Bonilla was elected.