In this century, it has also been one of the state's swingiest: Republicans tend to win, but by slim margins. It is also majority-LatinX, shining a harsh light on the myth that the Texas LatinXes lean heavily Democratic.
As of today, in the TX-23 House race, two-term incumbent Will Hurd holds a 1,150-vote lead over Democratic nominee Gina Ortiz Jones. That margin has increased since last week's figure of 689, but it is still well within the statutory amount to justify a recount request. Per the Texas Election Code, the margin must be less than 10% of the winner's vote total, and Hurd's count currently stands at 102,903; chop off the last digit to calculate the recount limit.
Some other links to share:
- The Texas Tribune's article to which we linked last week has the up-to-date numbers now.
- Texas Public Radio reminds us that no recount request can be filed until the Secretary of State says the last ballot have been counted, which may be the end of November.
- Politico has this race among six--oops, now it's five—US House contests with no victor declared.
- Ballotpedia mistakenly notes that Ortiz Jones and Libertarian Ruben Corvalan have lost the race, yet doesn't say that Hurd has won it.
Corvalan's performance in the race is of interest to anti-Duopolists like me. This is the Chilean-born engineer's third time standing for the TX-23 seat, and each time he has polled better than the margin of victory: 2014, 2016, and 2018. His best showing came in 2016: 10,862 votes, 4.74%.
In any Green candidate did what Corvalan has done even once, Democrats would be howling, "SPOILER!!!" So far, I haven't heard anybody howling about Corvalan stealing anyone's rightful votes, but then I don't have my ear to the ground in TX-23.
It makes we wonder, though, about what a Ranked Choice vote would look like in the last three TX-23 House races. How would Corvalan's voters split their second-choices? If a Green candidate were on the ballot, as in 2012, how would Democrats interpret the Green voter's second-choice votes?
(a) "See? Without the Green in the race, they would have voted Democrat!" or
(b) "See? They're voting Democrat second because, like many Democratic voters, they're scared shitless of the Republican winning!"
Also noteworthy: Corvalan's Ballotpedia profile (linked above) still shows selected planks from his 2014 platform, so I assume his positions haven't changed much. They're standard Libertarian stances on economic issues and gun rights, plus a call for term limits on Congresscritters.
The Intelligence Angle
In this year of the most diverse freshman Congressional class ever, Ortiz Jones ticks off two diversity checkboxes: Asian-American (Filipina) and LGBT+ (openly Lesbian). But, as multiple progressive/lefty information sources have noted, she is also a former military intelligence officer. We'll have to take that "former" designation on faith, kinda like our votes. Back in March, World Socialist Web Site posted a three-part article about the spies-running-as-Dems phenomenon, listing her as one of a couple-dozen Democratic candidates in that category.
In an era of increasing surveillance, with the corporate establishment exercising more control over the levers of government, this is more than a tad unsettling. To add to the unsettlement, WSWS recounts that Ortiz Jones defeated yet another intelligence asset in May's Democratic runoff election. (Emphases mine.)
The Democratic leaders are promoting CIA agents and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. At the same time, such people are choosing the Democratic Party as their preferred political vehicle. There are far more former spies and soldiers seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party. There are so many that there is a subset of Democratic primary campaigns that, with a nod to Mad magazine, one might call “spy vs. spy.”
The 23rd Congressional District in Texas, which includes a vast swathe [sic] of the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande, features a contest for the Democratic nomination between Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, who subsequently served as an adviser for US interventions in South Sudan and Libya, and Jay Hulings. The latter’s website describes him as a former national security aide on Capitol Hill and federal prosecutor, whose father and mother were both career undercover CIA agents. The incumbent Republican congressman, Will Hurd, is himself a former CIA agent, so any voter in that district will have his or her choice of intelligence agency loyalists in both the Democratic primary and the general election.
I'd feel a lot better about seeing Ortiz Jones seated in Congress if the Protecting Our Civil Rights and Freedoms section of her campaign site said something about upholding the Sixth Amendment. Like the Libertarians, I'd like to see more Congressmembers staunchly committed to keeping the gubmint's eyes, ears, and hands off everyday Americans' everday activities. But then, even if she did include such a promise on her site, could we really believe it?