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Retired Army officer Wes Riddle (R) emerged out of nowhere and pushed the primary into a runoff. Williams has family money and has put about $500,000 into his campaign. He also has connections and the backing of many prominent Texas Republicans.
This district stretches from west Austin up through a string of rural areas and into the outer Fort Worth suburbs.
In his hunt to return to Congress, former Rep. Steve Stockman narrowly came in second to financial adviser Stephen Takach in the primary.
Stockman’s campaign has consisted mainly of saturating the district with “fake tabloid newspapers emblazoned” with opposition research on Takach, according to the Beaumont Enterprise.
Takach has run the more conventional campaign, and Republicans are divided over who the nominee will be. However, the winner appears to be a shoo-in to become this seat’s next Member of Congress.
No other fall race in Texas has more riding on a primary than the contest in the 23rd district, and the Democratic runoff has defied political convention.
Perhaps the only prize available to Texas Democrats this fall is the prospect of defeating Republican Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco.
State Rep. Pete Gallego was a big recruiting score for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He proved to be a capable fundraiser and earned support from outside groups. Standing in his way was poorly funded ex-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez. Rodriguez ran a bare bones campaign but actually earned more votes than Gallego in the primary.
In the wake of that disappointment, Gallego put a new campaign team in place in an effort to re-energize his campaign. But Democrats remain uncertain about who will win the runoff. A source in the Gallego campaign expressed “cautious optimism.”
Nearly all state and national Democrats continue to insist he is the most viable candidate to beat Canseco in the fall.
The Democratic primary has stoked a dormant regional rivalry, pitting Cowtown against Big D.
Even though the Dallas candidate, former state Rep. Domingo Garcia, has had a larger television presence, most are betting that Fort Worth-based state Rep. Marc Veasey will come out ahead.
With a few exceptions, Fort Worth political players are supporting Veasey. However, Dallas’ Garcia appears to have less support from his home base, with many expressing reservations about his ability to bring people together.
Veasey came in first place in the primary and is expected to win the runoff as well. Regardless of who wins this primary, the victor will be coming to Congress in January. This district was drawn specifically to send a minority Democrat to the House.
Attorney Filemon Vela came in first in the primary with 40 percent of the vote. But in an eight-
person field, the rest of the votes fractured, and he was pushed into a runoff with former Congressional staffer Denise Saenz Blanchard. Sources say Vela has the name identification and that Blanchard lacks momentum.
Blanchard brought in only about a third of the votes as Vela in the May 29 primary and as result is the underdog in this race. The winner will almost certainly be going to Congress in the fall.