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Redistricting Forces Aaron Pena into Retirement

by: Katherine Haenschen

Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 08:52 AM CST

Christmas has come early for Democrats who loathe party-switching opportunists! State Rep. Aaron Pena, R-Himself, announced today that he's not seeking re-election to the Legislature! Why? Once the courts un-gerrymandered the maps, old Aaron realized he just can't win as a Republican.

From The Monitor:

Peña said he will not seek a sixth term in office in a court-drawn district he deemed unwinnable for any Republican candidate, nor will he move to a conservative-friendly district to vie for votes from the constituents of state Rep. Veronica Gonzales, D-McAllen.

Instead, Peña's campaign to become the first Hidalgo County Republican elected to the state Legislature since Reconstruction has ended prematurely with the release of a statement saying he "accomplished as much as we set out to do when I ran for this office in 2002."

If those goals include switching parties and stumping for a malevolent Photo ID law that will disproportionately disenfranchise Latinos and his own constituents, then yes! He did a lot!

At least he's not trying to switch back to the Democrats, and being all "I'm so sorry baby, I'll never hurt you again."

Pena said his district "is too dynamic, too diverse to be dominated by a single party that lets bullies thrive and enrich themselves and their cronies." Ironically he's talking about Democrats, not Republicans in the entire state of Texas. Arguably Pena abandoned the party that actually cares about the people in the RGV for one that wants to take away their health care, access to education and job opportunities at best, and ship 'em back over the border at the worst. I, for one, am just disappointed that we never got to see Debbie Riddle and Leo Berman demand that Aaron Pena show his papers to be allowed onto the Legislature floor.

Good riddance, Aaron! Sorry that fair map lines make it impossible for you to keep misrepresenting your constituents.

Update! 10:17 a.m. -- State Rep. Jessica Farrar, Leader of the House Democratic caucus and all-around awesome homegirl, released this statement on her Facebook page:

Representative Aaron Peña's decision to retire reflects that his views are out of touch with his constituents who support funding for public schools and universities, as well as access to healthcare. His voting record as a Republican includes historic cuts to education funding and severe cuts to healthcare services for one of the state's most underserved areas.



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Always the political tool, the timing of Pena's announcement that (0.00 / 0)
he no longer has a constituency in the RGV (his constituency had become a bunch of right-wing hacks in a smoke-filled backroom in Austin) is Pena's last lame attempt to serve his Republican cronies.

The non-minority candidates whose districts have been altered by the court enforcement of the Voting Rights Act are all withholding announcements until AG Abbott's Hail Mary pass fails.  Yet the lone minority Republican who had a tiny, odd-shaped district gerrymandered especially for him is not waiting to see how AG Abbott plays his last card -- why?  Pena isn't waiting so Abbott can argue that his pet minority has withdrawn from his tailor-made "minority opportunity" district.

It is nice to see that some things never change -- to the very end, Pena is putting the interests of his Republican cronies ahead of RGV voters. What a fitting end to a shame-filled political.

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