The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Thursday, December 01, 2005

And It's Official

As blogged yesterday by State Rep. Aaron Pena, Uresti's running against Madla:

Confirming rampant speculation in political circles, state Rep. Carlos Uresti said Wednesday that he will challenge longtime District 19 Sen. Frank Madla in the March Democratic primary.

Bolstered by early polling numbers, Uresti believes he's in a strong position to best Madla, whom he claims has voted against the interests of his constituents and is often MIA in the expansive 55,000-square-mile district.

"Politics is about perception," Uresti said. "People believe he's been a good Democrat, but that's a misperception."


The race, expected to be one of the hotter match-ups on the March 7 ballot, revs up with some bad blood.

Madla said Uresti repeatedly told him that he would not run for the seat until Madla retires.

"I can't respect a decision when someone says they're not going to run against me and then they turn around and run against me," he said. "Not once, not twice, but three times."

Uresti, on the other hand, says he was consistent in telling Madla that he intended to "keep his options open."

He was emboldened after getting the results of a poll conducted early last month.

The survey of 400 likely Democratic primary voters in the district showed that if the election were held today, 41 percent would cast a ballot for Madla and 23 percent would vote for Uresti.

Madla goes on to say that he thinks it would take Uresti about $3 million to win. I don't see where he pulls that figure from. Over 33,000 people voted in the 2002 Dem primary in SD-19, which would make it about $100 per total vote if Madla's figure was correct. And while SD 19 is expansive (pdf), taking in good chunks of both Henry Cuellar and Henry Bonilla's districts, it's not that bad once you start taking a look at where the votes come from.

Over 11,000 votes came from Bexar County that primary, with another 12,000 or so coming from Val Verde (Del Rio), Maverick (Eagle Pass), Edwards, Kinney, Real, Uvalde, Bandera, and Medina counties. Or, 23,000 out of the 33,000+ votes in the 2002 primary were within a four-hour drive from each other. Uresti also benefits from having over 15,000 of his 21,000+, 2004 general election votes in Madla's district.

Don't get me wrong, this will be a tough race against a three-term incumbent, but even the few Madla votes Uresti cites in the article should give a good chunk of Democratic voters pause. All of this, of course, will also play out side by side the Cuellar/Rodriguez/Raymond race in a great chunk of south Bexar County. Which could help Ciro out immensely.

Another question that arises is who replaces Uresti? Will it be Richard Perez, although as I've said before, the majority of his city council district (pdf) isn't in Uresti's house district (another pdf) and he's denied he would be interested recently. The current city council member with the most of his district in HD 118 is actually a Jeffersonian favorite, Roland Gutierrez. But he's only been serving on City Council for a little over six months now, so I would put the odds of that happening as not good. But considering that only one current Bexar county state representative has city council experience, I'll be on the lookout for other candidates.

HD 118 definitely needs to be considered, and run as, a swing district though- Uresti won in 2004 with 56% of the vote, Van Os beat Brister by eight votes, Republicans won both county judge races with 50 and 52% while Ralph Lopez won re-election as sheriff in the HD with just under 54% of the vote.

Update, 12:50 am: As a reader correctly points out there are actually two former city councilpersons who are currently Bexar County state reps- Jose Menendez and Ruth Jones-McLendon. You know my brain can do alot of stuff, but it can't ever correctly name our 10 state legislators.