Perhaps as a result of strong support in El Paso, state Rep. Pete Gallego
defeated incumbent Republican Francisco "Quico" Canseco in the race for the
23rd Congressional District.
"I'm tremendously grateful," Gallego, 50, said at a San Antonio victory party Tuesday night. "El Paso County really helped me make up a deficit in Bexar County."
The district was the scene of the only competitive congressional race in Texas, and it marked a pickup by the Democrats on a big night for the party.
Both national parties poured resources into the 23rd District race, but the Democrats fell short of picking up the 25 seats they needed to take control of the House.
Increasing numbers of Hispanics in the United States had a big impact on Democratic fortunes Tuesday, and increased numbers of El Paso County Hispanics in District 23 gave Gallego a similar boost.
Sixty thousand additional Lower Valley residents in El Paso County were added to the district, and they went for Gallego by a ratio of 80 percent to 20 percent. That was well ahead of the 50 percent to 46 percent ratio Gallego was running ahead of Canseco across the district when the Associated Press called the race for Gallego at 10:45 p.m.
Gallego, of Alpine, also ran well in the areas of his state House district, which he represented for 22 years -- particularly counties along the border. But going into Tuesday's race, Gallego's campaign said El Paso County was pivotal if it hoped to win. It
deployed 30 workers to get voters to the polls, and the number of Election Day voters in the Lower Valley in the district far exceeded the number who voted early.
Canseco, a conservative Republican who tried to label Gallego a radical, took positions early on that probably cost him later, given that his already Hispanic district became more Hispanic in this election. He opposed the Dream Act and repeated claims that car bombs had detonated in El Paso in 2010, although he backed away from those positions as the election approached.
Gallego said that when he's sworn in in January, he plans to focus on small business and jobs -- and he said there's a chance to pass meaningful immigration reforms.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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