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Texas' 23rd Congressional District elections, 2012

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Texas' 23rd Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
May 29, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Pete Gallego Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Francisco Canseco Republican Party
Francisco Canseco.jpg

Texas U.S. House Elections
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2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Texas.png
The 23rd congressional district of Texas held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Pete Gallego (D) was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012. He defeated incumbent Francisco Canseco (R).[1] This switched partisan control of the district.

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 9, 2012
May 29, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Texas has an open primary system, in which any registered voter can choose which party's primary to vote in, without having to be a member of that party. Texas also scheduled a primary runoff for July 31, 2012.

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by April 30.[2] For the July 31, 2012, the vote registration deadline was July 2. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 9.[3]

See also: Texas elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent was Francisco Canseco (R), who was first elected in 2010.

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Texas' 23rd congressional district was located in the western portion of the state, and included El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson, Jeff Davis, Reeves, Presidio, Brewster, Lvoing , Winkler, Ward, Crane, Upton, Reagan, Terrell, Pecos, Crockett, Schleicher, Sutton, Edwards, Val Verde, Kinney, Maverick, Uvalde, Zavala, Dimmit, La Salle, Frio, Medina, and Bezar counties.[4]

In redistricting, The Hill published a list of the Top Ten House Members who were helped by redistricting.[5] Francisco Canseco ranked 3rd on the list.[5]

The 23rd Congressional District of Texas, prior to the 2010-2011 redistricting process.

* Redistricting note: Due to legal turmoil in the redistricting process, filing deadlines were changed twice and the primary was changed once. The original filing deadline was December 12th.[6] That deadline was first moved to December 15th and then December 19th by a federal court due to delays caused by redistricting legal challenges. When a final map was issued, the December 19th deadline was once again moved to March 9 to allow candidates more time to file in light of the delays and map ambiguities. The primary date was first moved from March 6 to April 3, 2012 before finally settling on May 29.[7]

Primary runoff

The close race between Pete Gallego and Ciro Rodriguez was decided by a primary runoff election. This meant that it was likely decided by a very small percentage of voters. In 2000, runoff elections attracted roughly 2% of registered voters, while in 1996, they drew between 3 and 4% of registered voters.[8]


Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals were added after official election results had been certified. For more information about Ballotpedia's election coverage plan, click here. If you find any errors in this list, please email: Geoff Pallay.

General election candidates

Democratic Party Pete GallegoGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Francisco Canseco
Libertarian Party Jeffrey Blunt
Green Party Ed Scharf

July 31, 2012 Democratic primary runoff candidates

May 29, 2012, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Libertarian Party Libertarian Convention

Green Party Green Party candidate

Independent Independent candidate

Election results

General election

U.S. House, Texas District 23 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngPete Gallego 50.3% 96,676
     Republican Francisco Canseco Incumbent 45.6% 87,547
     Libertarian Jeffrey C. Blunt 3% 5,841
     Green Ed Scharf 1.1% 2,105
Total Votes 192,169
Source: Texas Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Race background


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 rated most competitive by The Cook Political Report, including the race for Texas' 23rd. 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." [9]

Texas' 23rd was considered to be Leaning Republican according to the New York Times race ratings. Republican incumbent Francisco Canseco was challenged by Pete Gallego (D) in a swing district that favored Republicans.[11]

Texas' 23rd District has been included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue List," which identified districts that the organization has specifically targeted to flip from Republican to Democratic control.[12]

Incumbent Francisco Canseco was a part of the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot Program, a program to help House Republicans stay on offense and increase their majority in 2012.[13]

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Texas

In redistricting, The Hill published a list of the Top Ten House Members who were helped by redistricting.[5] Francisco Canseco ranked 3rd on the list.[5] The article notes that in the redistricting process, Republican legislators were "careful when they redrew the district not to bring down the district’s Hispanic percentage in order to avoid violating the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voters."[5] Instead, redistricting switched out high-voting Democratic Hispanic areas with areas that have lower turnout.[5] According to the article, if the district stood up to legal scrutiny, Canseco would have been in a better position heading into the 2012 election.

The 23rd district was re-drawn after the 2010 Census. The new district is composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[14][15]

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. Texas' 23rd District became more Republican as a result of redistricting.[16]

  • 2012: 47D / 53R
  • 2010: 48D / 52R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measures each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. Texas' 23rd congressional district has a PVI of R+5, which is the 176th most Republican district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 50-50 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, George W. Bush won the district 58-42 percent over John Kerry (D).[17]

Campaign contributions

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2012 elections season. Below are candidate reports.

Francisco Canseco

Francisco Canseco (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[18]April 15, 2012$559,497.92$385,038.37$(143,123.19)$801,413.10
Pre-Primary[19]May 17, 2012$801,413.10$112,810.62$(143,554.88)$770,668.84
July Quarterly[20]July 15, 2012$770,668.84$316,136.00$(53,549.07)$1,033,255.77
Running totals

Pete Gallego

Pete Gallego Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[21]October 15, 2012$127,117.27$302,172.50$(147,906.19)$281,383.58
Pre-Primary[22]May 17, 2012$281,383.58$65,526.58$(263,523.04)$83,387.12
July Quarterly[23]July 15, 2012$83,387.12$183,566.82$(153,287.80)$113,666.14
Running totals

District history


On November 2, 2010, Francisco Canseco won election to the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating incumbent Ciro D. Rodriguez (D), Craig T. Stephens (I), Martin Nitschke (L), and Ed Scharf (G).[24]

U.S. House of Representatives General Election, Texas, Congressional District 23, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngFrancisco "Quico" Canseco 49.4% 74,853
     Democratic Ciro D. Rodriguez Incumbent 44.4% 67,348
     Independent Craig T. Stephens 3.6% 5,432
     Libertarian Martin Nitschke 1.6% 2,482
     Green Ed Scharf 0.9% 1,419
Total Votes 151,534

See also

External links


  1. ABC News "2012 General Election Results"
  2. Texas Secretary of State "2012 Primary Election Calendar," Accessed July 27, 2012
  3. Texas Secretary of State "You Must Register By...," Accessed July 27, 2012
  4. Texas Redistricting Map "Map" Accessed July 24, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 The Hill "House members most helped by redistricting" Accessed April 17, 2012
  6. Texas Secretary of State, "Important 2012 Election Dates", Accessed July 15, 2011
  7. Washington Post "Federal court orders May 29 primary date for Texas in redistricting case
  8. Texas Watchdog, "Compelling runoffs in Texas Congressional primaries, but will the voters come?," July 23, 2012
  9. Brennan Center for Justice, "Election Spending 2012: 25 Toss-Up House Races," October 22, 2012
  10. The Cook Political Report, "House: Race Ratings", updated October 18, 2012
  11. New York Times "House Race Ratings," Accessed August 10, 2012
  12. DCCC, "Red to Blue 2012"
  13. NRCC "Patriot Program 2012"
  14. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer "Texas's congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  15. Labels & Lists "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  16. FairVote, "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Texas," September 2012
  17. Cook Political Report "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" Accessed October 2012
  18. Federal Election Commission "Francisco Canseco April Quarterly," Accessed July 17, 2012
  19. Federal Election Commission "Francisco Canseco Pre-Primary," Accessed July 17, 2012
  20. Federal Election Commission, "Francisco Caseco July Quarterly," accessed October 15, 2012
  21. Federal Election Commission, "Pete Gallego April Quarterly," accessed October 15, 2012
  22. Federal Election Commission "Pete Gallego Pre-Primary," Accessed October 15, 2012
  23. Federal Election Commission, "Pete Gallego July Quarterly," accessed October 15, 2012
  24. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"