Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-El Paso) decision to challenge Sen. Ted Cruz (R) next year leaves open the heavily Hispanic 16th District for the 2018 election. Though a 79% + Hispanic district, with an even greater such participation factor in the Democratic primary, Mr. O’Rourke, then an El Paso City Councilman, was still able to deny veteran Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso) re-nomination back in 2012 proving that an Anglo candidate can still win there.
O’Rourke’s Senate announcement means that 13 US House seats are already in the open category for the next election, including five that are currently vacant and I special election mode. Of the 13 open seats, nine are Republican-held.
Texas’ 16th District, which encompasses El Paso’s city and suburbs, can expect a competitive Democratic primary. Already, talk of state Rep. Cesar Blanco (D) and Mayor Oscar Leeser (D) entering the open seat race is becoming prevalent. Others will undoubtedly join to create what is expected to be a large field of candidates.
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