Greg looks at primary results from the last two cycles in the newly drawn CD35, and finds confirmation of the convention wisdom that Rep. Lloyd Doggett has his work cut out for him against State Rep. Joaquin Castro. Go take a look and see for yourself, then check out NewsTaco and Somos Tejanos for a few words with Rep. Castro.
There are two things that need to be said here. One is that these numbers are publicly available, and anyone with any skin in this game is well aware of them. What that means is that if Castro had not jumped into this race, somebody else would have. Maybe that person would make a better member of Congress than Castro would, and maybe not, but one way or another Lloyd Doggett was going to be challenged if he ran in CD35, and recent electoral history suggests he’d be an underdog. To me, the question is not just whether or not Castro is more progressive than Doggett but whether or not Castro is preferable to anyone else that might have run instead. I don’t want to sound like I’m writing Doggett’s political obituary here, because no one has run an ad yet, never mind cast a vote, but the prospects of him being ousted are very real. It’s worth thinking about whether or not Castro is the best alternative we were likely to get.
The other thing is that CD35 is not the only attractive opportunity for an ambitious young Democrat in Bexar County, though it is the only one on anyone’s radar right now. As we know, CD23 is the most Democratic-leaning of the currently Republican-held Congressional districts. In some ways, given the longer time frame, the possibility of an active Presidential campaign behind you, and the fact that Lloyd Doggett starts out with an order of magnitude more cash on hand than Quico Canseco, one could argue that a challenge in CD23 might be less arduous, even given the relative tilt of each district. Be that as it may, if the only high profile candidacy to come out of Bexar County this year is Castro’s campaign against Doggett, then the 2011 Republican redistricting effort is as big a triumph for them as they could have wanted. If the only risks Democrats are willing to take are in our own sandboxes, we’ve already lost.