Could Be Rough Night for Democratic Congressmen

Early returns show trouble for Edwards, Rodriguez and Ortiz


Dave Mann

UPDATE: AP calls CD-17 for Flores, Edwards returning to Waco.

The national news media is already calling the U.S. House for Republicans.

The news isn’t any better at this hour for Democrats in Texas congressional races. All three endangered incumbent Democrats are trailing in early returns.

It’s still very early, but it’s not looking good at all for Waco Democrat Chet Edwards. He’s trailing Republican challenger Bill Flores 63 percent to 36. Only 59,000 votes have been counted. Not only is Edwards down 17 points, but he’s trailing Flores in McLennan County (Waco), which is supposed to be his base, by 2,000 votes.

More worrisome for Democrats are the early returns from the Ciro Rodriguez and Solomon Ortiz races.

Rodriguez trails Republican Francisco Canseco 49 percent to 40 percent with 76,000 votes counted. But Rodriguez, the incumbent Democrat, is trailing in Bexar County (San Antonio), the district’s major population center.

In South Texas, Solomon Ortiz looks to have a major fight on his hands from Republican newcomer Blake Farenthold. Ortiz is trails by 8 percent with 52,000 votes counted. But he’s trailing in Nueces County (Corpus Christi). Moreover, Farenthold is leading even though no returns have come in yet from the largely Republican San Patricio County. Of course, few precincts from the Democratic counties of Cameron and Willacy have reported. But this is shaping up as a close race.

Democrats poured a lot of resources into protecting Rodriguez and Ortiz. If one or both lose, that would portend a disastrous night for congressional Democrats.