[I]ndependent handicappers say Mr. Bonilla has the edge. "[Ciro] Rodriguez isn't known for his campaign proficiency," says Nathan Gonzales of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report. "He'll need to step it up significantly to pull it out."
Democrats say another factor that could aid Mr. Bonilla is the fact that the runoff coincides with Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe, a holy day on the Mexican Catholic calendar. "You have to question the Republicans' decision to not only schedule the election with just a few days notice, but also to schedule it on a day of worship celebrated by thousands of Mexican-Americans throughout the district," Mr. Rodriguez says.
In the primary, Mr. Rodriguez was one of seven Democrats running and managed to raise just $125,000. Now, the 21-member Hispanic Caucus, all of them Democrats, is pressing incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make winning the district a priority, says California congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. "If Democrats want that seat, the national money base can turn on a dime," she says.
Finally, one of the nice things about running against Henry Bonilla at this time is being able to hold some of his recent votes against him. Click on for more.
* Despite the urging and recommendation of President Bush, Bonilla voted against an amendment that would have added $2.1 billion in emergency spending for border security to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill.
* Bonilla voted against providing up-to-date, round-the-clock surveillance and additional technology to the border. The motion was an attempt to create a more comprehensive and realistic border security program that included 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents every year through 2010, as well additional infrastructure improvements.
* While exact Intelligence budget amounts are classified, in 2004 Bonilla voted against full funding for counterterrorism programs.