CD23: Ciro Rodriguez withdraws?

Tonight's AFL-CIO meeting was supposed to be a crucial test for Ciro Rodriguez. If he got their endorsement, it'd be a good sign. If he didn't get the endorsement, then raising money would be an awfully tough row to hoe.

Instead, Rodriguez apparently decided to withdraw. No word as to whether he wasn't going to get the endorsement and thus decided to give up the race.

Pure speculation: my feeling is that Democrats in Washington weren't wild about his candidacy, and weren't willing to put money behind him. Rodriguez didn't think he'd be able to raise enough on his own to battle Gilliland's self-funding capabilities.

What happens now?
The campaign analysis shifts quite a bit now. The question is whether the race becomes a three man race, or simply a face off between Bonilla and Gilliland. Can Albert Uresti be a formidable challenger?

Voters tend to vote for candidates that they think is "someone like them." In modern American campaigns, race/ethnicity plays a big part in that. In a 60% Hispanic district, one has to wonder whether Anglo Democrat Lukin Gilliland will be able to unite a significantly Latino Democratic base against Henry Bonilla. Not only is Gilliland an Anglo, but apparently he lives in outside the district in Alamo Heights. That's probably not the greatest symbol to the South Side: Alamo Heights is the poshest neighborhood of San Antonio.

With Rodriguez out, Uresti may be a serious candidate. His brother Carlos is state Senator-elect (more or less) from an overlapping district, and Albert is a former district chief of the San Antonio Fire Department. He may carry some name ID from his brother's race. The main question with Uresti is raising money: can he impress the right people to raise enough money for his campaign? With Rodriguez in, the answer seemed likely to be no. With Rodriguez out, Uresti may be able to raise some money.

Still, one has to think that Bonilla's chances of avoiding a runoff go up a good deal.

Addendum:
Jaime Castillo, in a pre-Rodriguez withdrawal column, has a couple interesting tidbits:

"Tony Sanchez spent $60 million in 2002 and only got 49 percent of the vote in that district. It's not a hopeful sign," [Hernandez] said, referring to the one-time Democratic nominee for governor.

...

Former Mayor Ed Garza, who was courted at the last minute to enter the race, told Political Writer Greg Jefferson that the timing wasn't right to mount a credible campaign with only weeks to go before Nov. 7.

What Garza didn't say is that a private poll helped him make up his mind. The whispers say Garza's numbers weren't bad, but they didn't differentiate him enough from the current field.

Right now, I bet Garza is kicking himself for not getting in.

Posted by Evan @ 08/30/06 11:53 PM

 
 

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