The Republicans in the Coastal Bend came out with a plan to energize voters and get them to the polls. From local county races to state races to a Congressional race, they won nearly every big race.
The biggest upset didn’t come until the very end. It was Republican candidate Blake Farenthold, a virtual outsider, beating Congressman Representative Solomon Ortiz by 799 votes. Ortiz had been in office since 1983. Farenthold used a campaign of he had been in office too long and it was time for him to go.
Farenthold raced to an early lead winning Nueces County by 10 percentage points. That was a clear message Democrats might be in trouble. Congressman Ortiz had never lost Nueces County before. It came down to Cameron County, but Democrats weren’t able to pull enough votes there, sending Ortiz down to defeat.
At the state level, State Representative incumbents Solomon Ortiz (District 33), Abel Herrero (District 34) and Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles (District 35) went down to defeat.
Ortiz lost to a small businessman Raul Torres by about 1200 votes. Torres emphasized he would take back Austin with new ideas and bringing America back to what our founding fathers said politics is about at the State Capitol. Despite his lack of experience, he defeated Ortiz.
Connie Scott, a Republican homemaker, who lost to Democrat Abel Herrero two years due to the Obama vote, got revenge. She beat the incumbent by 7 percentage points, which is about the same amount Herrero beat her. She campaigned saying Herrero was out of touch with voters. She would provide good leadership, make sure taxes weren’t raised to deal with the budget deficit and planned to fight gangs by passing laws to punish them.
Jose Aliseda, a Republican from Beeville, beat State Rep. Gonzalez-Toureilles of Alice by about 1500 votes. This district was expected to remain Democrat, but Aliseda won six of the seven counties with the exception of Jim Wells County.
In Nueces County, Republicans won nearly every race, including County Judge Loyd Neal winning re-election, Corpus Christi Councilman Brent Chesney demolishing former Nueces County Judge Terry Shamsie in County Court At Law No. 5 position by nearly 20 percent, Amanda Torres squeaking by Joe Benavides for a Justice of the Peace race by two points and Republicans Angelica Hernandez and Guy Williams beating Democrats
Manuel Banales and Marisela Saldana for two district judge races.
The only Democrats to walk away with a victory were Joe A. Gonzalez AKA Judge JAG, who beat Gil Hernandez for County Commissioner Precinct 2, and Mark Skurka beat Anna Jimenez for Nueces County DA. Both won by 10 percentage points.
The talk about how this happened to the Democrats will be discussed at length over the next few weeks. Republicans say they were energized and got out the early vote to lead them to victory. Meanwhile, Democrats have privately said it was due to the Obama factor and not having strong state-wide candidates to get their constituents to the polls, like they did two years ago for Obama.
–Manuel De La Rosa, South Texas Tribune, email@example.com