Feb. 6, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Path to Majority Winds Along Mexican Border

There were few surprises in the Southwest, as the GOP picked up five House seats in the region.

Republican Sens. John McCain and Tom Coburn retained their seats in Arizona and Oklahoma, respectively, while Democratic Reps. Chet Edwards and Ciro Rodriguez lost their contested seats in Texas.

McCain, a 24-year veteran of the Senate, secured a fifth term, as expected. His bigger challenge had been in the GOP primary, when former Rep. J.D. Hayworth sought to capitalize on the national conservative movement embodied by tea party activists to push McCain aside as too moderate. When Hayworth failed in the primary, McCain coasted to a general election victory with 59 percent of the vote in his race against Rodney Glassman (D).

Coburn, a first-term Senator, won by an overwhelming margin in the Sooner State, with 71 percent of the vote against Jim Rogers, a candidate who has run for Senate four times. Coburn had considered leaving the Senate after his first term, but eventually made the decision to run for re-election, at which point Democrats essentially conceded the race. The Oklahoma lawmaker has said he will not run for re-election in 2016.

In the House, Edwards, whom Roll Call named one of the top 10 vulnerable House incumbents, lost to GOP businessman Bill Flores by more than 25 points. His defeat in the 17th district — a notoriously Republican area that touts President George W. Bush as one of its most famous constituents — came as no surprise given the current mood of the electorate. Edwards was among several veteran House Democrats in conservative districts who had spent years defying the electoral odds, but saw their luck run out in the Republican tide.

Rodriguez also faced a tough challenge against Republican attorney Francisco “Quico” Canseco in the 23rd district. Rodriguez received flak in his Hispanic-majority border district for lashing out at a constituent at a town meeting, which Canseco used to his advantage during his campaign. The NRCC promoted Canseco, who pledged to help repeal health care reform. He lost two previous GOP primaries and finished second in this year’s primary before winning the runoff election.

House elections that were rated as tossups in Arizona and New Mexico returned results that echoed those seen elsewhere in the country, as Democratic incumbents fell to their Republican rivals. Rep. Harry Teague, who represents New Mexico’s 2nd district, was not able to fend off former Rep. Steve Pearce (R) in Tuesday’s race. The freshman Democrat was considered highly vulnerable in his Republican-leaning-district, particularly facing a seasoned campaigner and former Congressman with strong name recognition in the region.

In Arizona’s 5th district, Rep. Harry Mitchell lost by 10 points to former state Rep. David Schweikert (R), whom Mitchell had knocked off in 2008.

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