Redistricting Forces Aaron Pena into Retirement

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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.

Truth.  

About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She has previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Austin. In addition to serving as the president of Austin Young Democrats, she is also UCONN's #1 fan in Texas.

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