Republicans have a former congressman running to take back Texas’ 23rd District after just two years, but GOP enthusiasm about defeating Rep. Pete Gallego appears to be waning.
The Democrat defeated GOP Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, 50 percent to 46 percent, in 2012 in a redrawn district in southwest Texas. At the same time, Mitt Romney won the 23rd District, 51 percent to 48 percent, over President Barack Obama. Obama won it narrowly, 50 percent to 49 percent, in 2008.
Republican strategists pushed hard to get a fresh face in the race. But the December filing deadline worked against them and their efforts fell short. Canseco is running again, along with former CIA officer Will Hurd and physician Robert Lowry.
Canseco should be a credible candidate, but this is his fifth run for Congress so it’s no wonder some Republicans were looking elsewhere. (Canseco lost GOP primaries in 2004 and 2008, was elected in 2010, and lost in 2012.)
The March 4 primary gives Republicans an opportunity to regroup and build their case against Gallego, but this race no longer deserves to be considered one of the most competitive in the country.