Rep. Chris Bell has officially filed for the new 9th CD, and one potential primary opponent has bowed out.
Bell will run in the new 9th District, which contains much of the south Harris County population Bell now represents but has a larger proportion of African-American voters.
He has said he believes he can build upon the multiracial coalition that fueled his victories in 2002, including a Democratic primary win over then-City Councilman Carroll Robinson, who is black.
Bell announced his candidacy at Townwood Park in south Houston, site of a planned community center for which Bell said he secured federal funding.
One prominent black politician, Justice of the Peace Al Green, has announced that he also will seek the Democratic nomination in the 9th.
Another, Houston City Councilwoman Ada Edwards, ruled out her bid Tuesday. "I think I can be more effective staying right where I am," she said.
In the Republican Primary, Houston lawyer Arlette Molina has signed up for the 9th.
Up north, State Rep. Kenny Marchant has filed for the 24th CD, the current home of Rep. Martin Frost.
Marchant filed for the 24th congressional district -- now held by Frost -- that was dramatically redrawn by Republican leaders who said they had Marchant in mind for the job.
Marchant could not be reached Tuesday for comment. Frost, of Arlington, has said he will wait until Friday -- the deadline to file for the March 9 primaries -- before revealing whether he will seek re-election in the same district or seek another district he might have a better chance to win.
Although Frost is an incumbent, Marchant would have the edge if the two men faced off in the general elections in November, said Bryan Eppstein, Marchant's campaign consultant.
With its boundaries redrawn, "this district is one that overwhelmingly supports President Bush, his tax cuts and his conservative philosophies. Those are the same positions and philosophies shared by Kenny Marchant," Eppstein said.
Bill Dunn, a Haltom City businessman, has also entered the GOP primary for the 24th District.
Elsewhere in the same story:
In other developments Tuesday, veteran U.S. Rep. Charles Stenholm, D-Abilene, announced he will seek re-election in the newly drawn 19th congressional district. Stenholm now represents the 17th congressional district.
In making his announcement, Stenholm lambasted the congressional redistricting move, pushed forward by the GOP in hopes of ousting several Democratic congressmen from Texas, including Stenholm and Frost, and gaining a majority in the U.S. House.
"I still believe that this new redistricting plan is wrong and could be overturned [by the U.S. Supreme Court]," Stenholm said in a written statement released Tuesday. "But as I learned as a high school football player, you have to abide by the decision of the referees, whether you agree with it or not."
Stenholm's comments drew the ire of the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington, who called him an "embattled liberal Democrat."
In the That's Gratitude For Ya department, Rep. Ciro Rodriguez has drawn a primary challenge from State Rep. Henry Cuellar.
Henry Cuellar, the former Texas secretary of state, has officially filed as a candidate in the 28th Congressional District, ending any speculation that he might switch gears and take on U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla of San Antonio for a second time.
Cuellar, a former Laredo state lawmaker, will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, in what will be one of the more closely watched contests of the March 9 primary.
“As a state representative for 14 years, I fought to bring improved funding for education, health care and economic development in the district I represented,” Cuellar said. “If elected to Congress in the 28th District, I will continue to work hard and produce real results in these same areas.”
Cuellar's decision to take on Rodriguez, who supported Cuellar in his credible but unsuccessful bid against Bonilla in 2002, was affected by the recent round of congressional redistricting. That process put half of Laredo in Rodriguez's district.
On Monday, San Augustine Republican Emily Mathews filed in the new district.
The former marketing vice president for Energy Transfer Group, Mathews runs a business consulting agency and bills herself as a moderate Republican alternative to Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Max Sandlin of Marshall.
U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, already had filed under the old map, but by filing under the new one officially departs from Gregg County ballots.
Longview and Tyler shift from Hall's District 4 to District 1, and Hall filed Monday under the new map.
Dr. Lyle Thorstenson, a Nacogdoches ophthalmologist, is scheduled to announce his Republican candidacy at 9:30 a.m. today in Longview at The Butcher Shop, 102 Lehigh St.
Longview Republican John Graves, who unsuccessfully challenged Hall in 2002 and filed to oppose him a second time, left any mention of specific districts off the yard signs that already dot Longview as he filed under District 4 but publicly announced intentions for District 1.
Others who have announced plans to file include state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, and former appeals court chief justice Louie Gohmert of Tyler, a Republican.