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Texas: Cuellar Poll Shows He Should Win Primary

Rep. Henry Cuellar is poised to win the 28th district Democratic primary, according to an internal poll released by his campaign last week.

The poll of 500 voters likely to participate in the 28th district’s March 4 Democratic primary showed that 56 percent of those surveyed would choose to re-elect Cuellar, a conservative Democrat who has long been a target of labor unions and some party activists.

Only 21 percent of those polled said another individual should be given a chance to represent the district. The survey had a margin of error of 4.4 points.

Candidates have until early January to file to run for Congress in Texas, and at present Cuellar has no announced primary opponents.

The slight but significant redistricting of some Texas Congressional seats that occurred in the summer of 2006, including in the 23rd and 28th districts, probably smoothed Cuellar’s path to re-election this cycle.

Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D), the man Cuellar ousted in the old 28th district in the 2004 Democratic primary — and whom he held off in a rematch in the March 2006 primary — is now serving in the 23rd district.

Cuellar’s internal poll, which was conducted Nov. 1-6 by the Democratic polling firm Myers Research/Strategic Services LLC, also found his personal and job-approval ratings to be high.

The survey found that of the 84 percent of likely voters who were aware of Cuellar, 71 percent rated him very favorably personally, while 59 percent said said he was doing a “good” to “excellent” job as Congressman.

Meanwhile, 65 percent of those polled gave Congress an overall rating of “fair” or “poor.” Cuellar’s disapproval rating was 26 percent.

— David M. Drucker

Texas GOP Targets Rodriguez in 23rd

The Texas Republican Party is raising money to take on Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D) in the politically competitive 23rd district, according to an e-mail fundraising appeal sent out by the state GOP last week.

“As the only campaign committee currently authorized for federal election activity in this important swing district, we are already getting ready for the liberal ground forces to follow their cash flow,” the e-mail appeal reads. “That is why your special contribution here at the end of 2007, prepares the Republican Party of Texas to start strong in 2008.”

To motivate Republican activists to donate, the e-mail appeal alerts readers to a recent Rodriguez fundraiser that was held in San Antonio and headlined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“[I]f ‘San Fran Nan’ is successful in re-electing Ciro Rodriguez in the heart of Texas, what do you think she has planned for him? … big government, big tax increases, and big rollbacks of the conservative agenda,” the e-mail reads.

Rodriguez defeated then-Rep. Henry Bonilla (R) last year in a special general election that was held after the 23rd district was redrawn to comply with the Voting Rights Act. The 23rd was adjusted by a federal court in the summer of 2006 as part of a Supreme Court decision that otherwise affirmed the 2003 redistricting of Texas Congressional seats.

Bonilla almost won the new district outright in the special general election that was held on the same day as the 2006 midterm elections. But he failed to garner 50 percent of the vote in that contest and went on to lose the December 2006 runoff.

An electoral analysis of the new boundaries has shown that voters there would have elected George W. Bush governor in 1998, and similarly would have elected him in 2000 when he first ran for president.

— D.M.D.

Marchant Is Marching Toward a Third Term

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R) has filed to run for re-election in the suburban Dallas 24th district. Marchant won a 2nd term in 2006 with 60 percent of the vote, and would appear to be in a good position to win re-election in 2008 — at least at this point.

“I believe in the voice of the people and I take seriously my responsibility and duty to make sure those concerns and issues that are important to this community, are heard on a daily basis in our nation’s capital,” Marchant said in a statement.

— D.M.D.

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