Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Insult to Injury

In the last congressional election of the cycle, Democrat Ciro Rodriguez has defeated incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla to take the 23rd Texas District for the Donkey.

Henry Bonilla (R) - 32,165 45.68%
Ciro D. Rodriguez (D) - 38,247 54.32%

The district is heavily Latino and heavily rural, though it does include portions of the San Antonio area.

The race was a run-off because Bonilla could not crack 50% of the vote in the first round of elections. Yesterday, he ran behind his election day total (around 48%), giving Ciro the victory. What to we glean from this?

Well, in part, the results can be explained by the simple fact that Democrats are energized right now and Republicans are demoralized. But I think there is more to it. Given the extent that many people were seen as voting "against" the GOP rather than "for" the Democrats, there was always a risk of buyer's remorse setting in. The Democrats, by taking both the Senate and House, exceeded many people's expectations. It's entirely possible that when they woke up the morning after election day, they'd be like, "oh crap, what have we done?" The election of Ciro Rodriguez in a post-election day race he was seen as an underdog in is a signal that voters are comfortable with the idea of a Democratic House and Senate, and are at least willing to give us a shot. That's good news for Democrats hoping to consolidate their gains come 2008.

Congratulations to the victor!


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