Lone competitive congressional district stands out on Texas ballot

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October 31, 2012

By Maresa Strano


AUSTIN, Texas: Out of 36 U.S. House seats up for election this year in Texas, only one district is considered to be in play- the 23rd, currently occupied by Republican Francisco Canseco. According to The Cook Political Report, which rated the race as Republican toss-up, the distinction stems from 2010 redistricting.[1][2][3]

Texas' 23rd District made the 2012 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue List," which singles out districts that the organization has specifically targeted to flip from Republican to Democratic control.[4] In fact, as of October 31st, the DCCC has given $1,678,238 in independent expenditures to unseat Canseco. That makes it the 13th most expensive congressional race in the country for the DCCC this election cycle.[5]

Using the Federal Election Commission's October Quarterly campaign finance filings, the Brennan Center for Justice at The New York University School of Law published a report on October 22nd focusing on the 25 House races, including Texas' 23rd, rated most competitive by The Cook Political Report. The report examines the relative spending presence of non-candidate groups, candidates, and small donors in these races - "which will likely determine which party will control the House."[6] Among the trends identified in the report, the role of small donations in influencing election outcomes could be eclipsed by the comparatively massive funding influence of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and other outside groups.

Canseco (R) was first elected in 2010. He will defend his seat against three challengers in the general election on November 6th: Pete Gallego (D), Jeffrey Blunt (L) and Ed Scharf (G).[8]

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