Long-Time CU Ally Loses Bid To Keep Seat

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At least one credit union ally won't be returning to Capitol Hill next year.

The state Supreme Court rejected a request by Rep. Ciro Rodriguez to appeal his narrow loss in March's Democratic primary, virtually dooming the credit union-backed candidate's chances. In its brief order, the state's high court said it dismissed Rodriguez's appeal because it does not have jurisdiction over electoral disputes, with the state's appeals courts, which already rejected Rodriguez's bid, the final judge in such cases.

Rodriguez, elected seven years ago with heavy credit union support, appeared to win the March primary by 145 votes, but fell behind his challenger, former Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar, and ended up losing by a mere 58 votes in a recount. Rodriguez sued, claiming irregularities in the recount, but his charges were dismissed last month by the state's appeals court.

The Democratic nominee is almost assured of winning the congressional seat, which encompasses the San Antonio area, in November.

The seat is just one of several among the Lone Star State's 32 House seats expected to have new occupants in the 109th Congress, as congressional redistricting will almost certainly force the retirement of several incumbents. The Republican-controlled redistricting, which has withstood several court challenges, has been carefully designed to favor Republican candidates, at the expense of several long-time Democratic House members.

Among the most closely watched races in the country are 13-term Democratic incumbent Martin Frost against four-term Republican Pete Sessions, in a district heavily weighted to Republicans; and 13-term Democrat Charles Stenholm against freshman Republican Randy Neugebauer. Also facing long odds are Democrats Chet Edwards, Max Sandlin and Nick Lampson.

The likelihood the Republicans will pick up as many as six seats in Texas makes it probable the GOP will retain control of the House in the next Congress.

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