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Why Solomon Ortiz Jr. Really, Really Needs to Run Against Republican Blake Farenthold


by: Katherine Haenschen

Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 10:30 AM CST


Last week, we reported that former State Representative Solomon Ortiz Jr. has been exploring a run for Congress -- for CD-27, to be exact, the district that his father held for 27 years.

Ortiz Sr. lost to Blake "Ducky Pajamas" Farenthold in 2010, another victim to the Tea Party wave and poor organizing in Nueces County. His son, Ortiz Jr., was defeated by Raul Torres in 2010, who elected not to run again when his district was drawn out from underneath him.

Now, Ortiz Jr. is exploring a run for CD-27. Not only is he the strongest candidate Democrats could possibly field in the race, his candidacy would be crucial to expanding organizing in Nueces County and helping elect Democrats up and down the ballot.

Below the jump, read more about why Solomon Ortiz Jr. needs to get in the race for CD-27.

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The race would be an uphill battle, for sure -- but it's a worthwhile effort, and it would give Democrats another important reason to organize in the geography covered by CD-27.

Yes, the district has been dramatically redrawn during the 2011 redistricting shenanigans, but Ortiz's candidacy will help push the district back into being competitive and provide resources and urgency for increased organizing in key parts of Texas.

His candidacy would bring more needed organizational resources to Nueces County.

Ortiz's campaign would result in a stronger Nueces County coordinated campaign, which would help other Democrats on the ballot. Nueces County should be more of a Democratic stronghold than it currently is, based on voter turnout, election results, and demographics. A credible candidate like Ortiz can go toe-to-toe with the flailing embarrassment that is Blake Farenthold and campaign on the incumbent's refusal to do his basic job -- for instance, his refusal maintain the same level of federal funding to public transit programs in the community.

Battleground Texas can't do all of the work themselves to organize and turn out new Democratic voters in our state -- they need strong candidates on the ballot to engage local Democrats and activists across the state and help engage as many voters as possible. A serious campaign by Ortiz will give a broad swathe of Democratic organizations and allied institutions a reason to invest in Nueces County and get it on a permanent path to being a Democratic-majority area.

The district is more than just Nueces County, and other key areas can also benefit from a strong Congressional candidate.

CD-27 currently includes portions of Bastrop and Caldwell counties, which can also produce increased Democratic vote share with an influx of resources and excitement. Even the City of Victoria is 42% Hispanic. There's a ton of untapped potential in the new CD-27. The more exciting candidates we can put on the ballot, the more likely we are to increase Democratic turnout.

He has substantial name ID owing to his own career in public service and his father's nearly three decades in Congress.

Ortiz Jr. would start any race with sizable name ID and a strong pool of donors in Texas and nationally who have previously given to him or his father. He's also a credible messenger for the Democratic Party in Hispanic communities. The district in its current incarnation is 49.2% Hispanic. Ortiz can push back against attacks on Democrats in communities that are familiar with his family's record of public service.

He'd be the Inigo Montoya of 2014 Congressional Candidates.

Think about it: son runs for office to avenge the loss of his father, restoring strong representation to his home community, ousting one of the more embarrassing members of Congress. Farenthold deserves a strong, hard challenger -- he won as a result of Democrats basically falling asleep at the wheel in Nueces County in 2010. It's time for Ortiz to come back, help lead the efforts to rebuild the Democratic Party in Nueces County, and give Blake Farenthold a serious challenge.

I hope that whatever Ortiz needs to make his decision to run -- whether it's a campaign plan or commitment of resources -- can come together in the next week. Filing ends a week from today, Monday, December 9.  



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