Rodriguez Leading Bonilla
By Lee Nichols,
8:45PM, Tue. Dec. 12, 2006
Democrat Ciro Rodriguez appears to be pulling off an upset over incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla in Congressional District 23 tonight. At the moment, despite polling behind Bonilla in a Survey USA poll over the weekend, election returns are showing him solidly ahead, 57% to 43%. These totals include early voting numbers and 67% of tonight's ballot boxes. We don't know for certain which boxes have been counted and which are still out, but it would be nearly impossible at this point for Bonilla to make up an 8,000-vote deficit (out of 56,320 counted so far).
Rodriguez started the evening in the lead, with 54% of the early votes, and he has steadily increased it since. If Rodriguez wins, it won't be his first time in Congress. He represented District 28 from 1997 to 2005, but the Tom DeLay-driven redistricting of 2003 forced him into the same district as fellow Dem Henry Cuellar, who defeated Rodriguez in the 2004 primary. Rodriguez tried to regain his seat in this year's primary but narrowly lost again. However, when a Supreme Court decision redrew the boundaries of District 23 and he found himself living in Bonilla's district, he decided to enter the Nov. 7 special election.
For more on the background of this last remaining congressional race, see this earlier post.