House district 118
State Rep. Carlos Uresti's decision to challenge state Sen. Frank Madla has created an open house seat in San Antonio. So far, no Democrats are in the race. On the Republican side, the race includes 2004 Uresti challenger Steve Salyer and it looks like there's soon to be another Republican in the race.
Republican George Antuna, a staffer for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, is "seriously considering" a run for Texas House District 118 — a seat historically represented by Democrats.
"It's winnable by the appropriate (Republican) candidate," said Antuna, the regional director for Texas' senior senator. "Someone with deep roots in the southern sector and someone who can garner votes in the northern sector, which is the fastest-growing area."
Antuna graduated from South San Antonio High School, San Antonio College and the University of Texas at San Antonio. He lives in the Mission Del Lago neighborhood.
He has been Hutchison's regional director for nearly five years. Prior to that, he was director of protocol to Gov. Rick Perry and then-Secretary of State Henry Cuellar.
But he said his Republican ties don't preclude him from working with both parties.
"I've been able to cultivate strong relationships with Democrats in my current position since the majority of my region is Democrat," he said.
Antuna's middle-of-the-road politics should help him in a race for that district, said Harold Oliver, a former aide to state Sen. Frank Madla with roots on the South Side.
This is a winnable seat for the right Republican. In 2004, Bush defeated Kerry by almost 55-45%, after being edged out by Al Gore in 2000. In the '04 Railroad Commissioner race, Republican Victor Carrillo lost 49-51%. The statewide judicial races leaned a little to the Democrats, but this is definitely a winnable seat. Including the presidential race, the composite number for this was 50.3% Republican (though only 45% in 2000). (data link)
The Bexar County district is also 31% Anglo, 3% black, and 65% Hispanic (35% Anglo and 61% Hispanic among the voting age population), making Antuna's surname a valuable asset for a Republican.
If Republicans want to maintain their majority in Texas in the coming decades, the time to start grooming a farm team for future statewide office is now. It's probably a slightly uphill climb for a Republican in this district, but someone like Antuna, if willing to outwork his opponent, could definitely win.
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