In Texas, there’s a tight race brewing between two Latinos. Two years ago, Francisco Canseco was swept in congress as part of the national Tea Party wave. His challenger is Peter Gallego, a Democrat who has served in the legislature for 22 years. This vast congressional district is majority Latino. Observers are watching to see how the voting bloc may or may not influence the election and what it spells for future Texas politics.
The 23rd Congressional District of Texas is one of the largest districts in the nation. Running along 800 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, it is larger geographically than Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware combined.
But winning the seat there means much more than adding another party vote in Congress -- it’s a window into the future of politics in Texas.
On Saturday, two days before the early voting polls opened, the campaign headquarters for Republican Congressman Francisco "Quico" Canseco is focused on GOTV, or Get Out The Vote.
There are more than 75 volunteers in this north San Antonio office. Most are wearing matching Canseco for Congress T-shirts, some have been block walking. Others are working the phone bank, delivering a scripted message about Canseco.
In one corner, Senator John Cornyn is also making a couple of calls. Cornyn’s here to give volunteers a pep talk, and to remind them that keeping the 23rd District in Republican hands is a party priority.
Cornyn told them, "This is Ground Zero. The Democrats want this district worse than any other district in the country, than any other one in the country, that’s why it’s so important that you are here.”
UPDATED WEDNESDAY 11:18 am
Numbers went back and forth all night, but in the end, it looks like Gallego has the victory, though Canseco has yet to concede.
The election is over for the massive 23rd Congressional District of Texas. But the legal fight is just beginning.
Democratic challenger Pete Gallego won just under 52 percent of the vote -- but the Republican incumbent Francisco Canseco is claiming there were massive voting irregularities and he refuses to concede.
Seven o’clock, election night. The early voting numbers are released and it doesn’t look good for State Representative Gallego. The Republican incumbent is leading with more than 55 percent of the votes.
But at the Gallego campaign watch party at Don Pedro’s restaurant on the South Side of San Antonio, the mood is still positive. These die hards, including campaign spokesperson Rebecca Acuna, know that these early numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Democrat Pete Gallego defeats Quico Canseco. With 52% of the vote counted, Gallego calls it a "dream come true," and thanks his supporters for all of their help.
Reporter Dave Davies says Gallego, the Democrat, is now up 3.5 thousand votes in the election. Could be a reversal of fortune!
What’s at stake in Texas’s 23rd Congressional District? It can answer the question – will the majority Latino electorate turn out and make a difference in Texas politics? So far this evening, the answer appears to be no. Heavily Latino counties apparently didn’t really turn out to vote – in fact, the El Paso Times reports that El Paso had the lowest early voter turn out of all eight most populous counties in Texas, and that turnout was lower than the past two general elections. At the same time Bexar county went heavily for the Republican. That has had an impact on the vote for Democrat Pete Gallego who currently trails Republican incumbent Quico Canesco by 6 percentage points, 44% to 51% . But Gallego supporters say that early vote doesn’t tell the whole story.