Rep. Solomon Ortiz conceded to his Republican challenger Monday night in in Texas’ 27th district. The Texas Democrat called challenger Blake Farenthold, a former radio talk-show host, as the last county in his district worked toward wrapping up its recount.
“We had a nice conversation and he wished me the best,” Farenthold said in a statement. “Mr. Ortiz said he would assist me in my transition so we can make sure that South Texans continue to get the service they need and deserve. I am excited that this cloud of uncertainty has finally blown over [and] now I can ‘officially’ get to work for the people of the 27th District.”
The Farenthold victory brings the net Republican House pickups this cycle to 62 seats, with four House races still outstanding from the midterm elections. The Republican was on Capitol Hill last week for freshman orientation.
Ortiz asked for the recount, which cost him $23,500, after the original unofficial count showed him down by 799 votes. Five of the district's six counties had finished by Friday, but Cameron County — which was also dealing with a recount in a county judge’s race — was still finishing recounting absentee and early ballots Monday evening. Officials there expected to certify the vote count Monday night.
A former chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the current chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, the 14-term Congressman had never gotten less than 55 percent in a re-election campaign. His races in 2006 and 2008 were among his closest: he won re-election with 57 percent in 2006 and with 58 percent in 2008.
Ortiz’s son, Democratic state Rep. Solomon Ortiz Jr., also lost Nov. 2. He represents Corpus Christi.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.