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GOP Poll Shows Canseco Ahead of Rodriguez in Texas

A new poll taken for the campaign of Francisco Canseco showed the Republican businessman holding his own against Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the west Texas 23rd district.

The OnMessage Inc. survey of 400 likely voters showed Canseco with 43 percent and Rodriguez with 37 percent. The poll was conducted Aug. 15-16 and had a margin of error of 4.9 points.

For Canseco’s campaign it was an improvement over the results of a similar OnMessage poll taken in mid-May, which showed the two candidates within the margin of error.

The recent poll also found a 17-point advantage for Republicans on the generic ballot, a leap from the 5-point advantage in the OnMessage poll in May. Rodriguez’s net favorable rating fell from 13 points to just 1 point in the same period.

A lot has happened in the race in the past three months. In early July, the San Antonio Express-News reported that Canseco’s properties had been charged with $715,000 in tax liens. He said the liens had to do with disputes between tenants. A few days later the conservative website posted a video of Rodriguez reacting strongly to a constituent asking him to “tell the truth” about costs associated with President Barack Obama’s health care law. Rodriguez later apologized.

Earlier this month, Canseco was promoted to the top tier of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program.

At the end of June, Canseco was at a financial disadvantage compared with the incumbent, but not one that is insurmountable in an environment that favors Republicans nationally. As of June 30, the challenger showed $453,000 on hand while the incumbent had $702,000 in the bank.

This is Canseco’s third bid to win a seat in Congress. He won a runoff against former CIA official Will Hurd in April after losing the Republican primary in the 23rd district in 2008. He lost his first run for Congress in another district in 2004.

Rodriguez first came to the House after he won a special election in 1997, but he lost his seat in a neighboring district in 2004 after a mid-decade redistricting. In 2006, he defeated Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla in a December runoff. In 2008, he won re-election with 56 percent of the vote.

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