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Texas Filing Deadline Solidifies 2014 Contests

Sen. John Cornyn is not the only Texas Republican to face a race in 2014. Several House members will face challenges within their own party this March, or competitive races this November.

The filing deadline passed on Monday evening to run for Congress from the Lone Star State. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, served up the biggest surprise with his last-minute challenge to Cornyn.

“He obviously was going to be looking at a difficult race in his own congressional seat, so he decided to try something different,” Cornyn said Tuesday at the Capitol. “He wasn’t on my radar screen, but neither were the other five or so other people who filed in … the primary and the other five or so who filed in the general.”

Stockman faces an extremely difficult path to the GOP nomination. But so could a couple of his House colleagues seeking re-election. Here are some of the more interesting races:

The 33rd District (Dallas-Fort Worth)
Freshman Rep. Marc Veasey, a Democrat, is vulnerable to a primary challenge, thanks to the current district lines. Veasey’s 2012 primary rival, former state Sen. Domingo Garcia, passed on a rematch.

But Democratic attorney Tom Sanchez did file, creating a contest that pits black voters in Fort Worth against Hispanic voters in Dallas. Veasey’s base in Fort Worth is heavily outnumbered, but his operation is highly organization. Sanchez alluded to the district’s demographics in his announcement, when he quoted a cousin saying, “it is time we had a voice in Congress.”

The seat is rated Safe Democratic by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

The 23rd District (southwest Texas)
By the numbers, Rep. Pete Gallego, a Democrat, represents the most competitive district in Texas. But the National Republican Congressional Committee came up short in recruitment there, despite efforts as late as November to get a strong challenger into the race.

Two Republicans are seeking the nomination: former Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco and former CIA Agent Will Hurd.

The race is rated Tossup/Tilt Democrat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

The 4th District (northeast Texas)
Five Republican candidates filed to challenge Republican Rep. Ralph M. Hall, who is running for an 18th term. But it is John Ratcliffe, a Bush administration appointee, who stands out from the pack.

Some state GOP operatives downplayed the competitiveness of the challenge, but Ratcliffe is a politically connected candidate. A former U.S. attorney, he is a partner at former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s law firm.

The Campaign for Primary Accountability unsuccessfully targeted Hall in 2012.

The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

The 36th District (suburban Houston and east Texas)
Five Republicans filed to succeed Stockman in Congress. There is one additional contender, Kim Morrell, per the Texas GOP website

The most notable candidate is Doug Centilli, chief of staff to Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who represents a nearby district.

The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

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