December 14, 2005
Filing news: Richard Raymond drops CD28 bid

Well, everyone else is already on top of this story, in which State Rep. Richard Raymond has dropped his bid to unseat US Rep. Henry Cuellar in CD28. He will instead refile for his State House seat in HD42.

"Although it means I can not seek higher office at this time, it is the right and just outcome for my constituents and, I believe, all Texans," Raymond said.

Raymond said the decision will allow him to continue working to undo the controversial, mid-decade redistricting effort heavily influenced by U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, which dramatically altered several congressional districts, including the seat now held by Cuellar.

With the Jan. 2 candidate filing deadline fast approaching, Raymond still was facing significant challenges in the race that also includes Ciro Rodriguez, the former San Antonio congressman who was ousted by Cuellar two years ago.

Raymond, who boosted his fundraising totals with $300,000 in loans earlier this year, did not want to be left in the position of having a lot of debt and then seeing the district dramatically altered by the courts in a few months, a source within his campaign said.


Colin Strother, a campaign spokesman for Cuellar, who has been leading in early polling, said he doesn't believe Raymond's decision had anything to do with the Supreme Court's recent decision to take a look at redistricting in Texas.

This is the clearest sign yet that Congressman Cuellar's unparelled accessibility in the district and innovative approach to delivering federal funds to local communities scared off a guy with $500,000 in the bank," Strother said in an e-mail.

Here's Raymond's full statement (PDF), in which he notes that he's a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits and that he expects a favorable resolution from the courts, which would mean a return to the 2002 Congressional boundaries. Personally, I think he's overly optimistic about that, but if he turns out to be right then his natural target would become CD23, which would once again contain Webb County and which incumbent Rep. Henry Bonilla nearly lost in 2002 before the remap bolstered its Republican percentages.

Other commentary comes from Aaron Pena, The Jeffersonian, Just Another Matt, Rio Grande Valley Politics, Dos Centavos, and Andre Pineda, who did the polling that was cited in this story and who has Ciro Rodriguez's statement on Raymond's exit.

Personally, I think this is good news for the anybody-but-Cuellar crowd. This should be a boon to Rodriguez's fundraising efforts, and it keeps the focus on Cuellar instead of on who should replace him. What about Victor Morales and his rumored entry? I don't have much of an idea what kind of support he'll have, but my guess is not too much. Got any more polls in your bag of tricks, Andre?

In other filing news, via the Quorum Report, State Sens. Frank Madla and Bob Deuell have made their reelection bids official. Madla has a primary challenge from State Rep. Carlos Uresti, and the winner of that gets to face Darrel Brown of Bandera County in the general. Deuell is unopposed as yet.

I noted earlier that Mary Beth Harrell has another Kos diary up. Since she also posted it at Texas Tuesdays, I thought I'd give it another plug. If you haven't met MB Harrell yet, do yourself a favor and take a moment to do so.

Finally, there's three hours left to vote for John Courage to win the endorsement and support of Senator Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund. Nick Lampson is also in the running, but since he's apparently sixth and Courage is leading, a vote for Courage should have more effect. Voting ends at midnight, so hop over and do your thing.

UPDATE: The Red State looks at the last time a redistricting lawsuit affected Texas' Congressional boundaries.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 14, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack