Campaign 2010

Dec 10, 2013

MEMO: TX 23 - The Most Devastating Republican Recruitment Failure of the Cycle So Far

To:                   Interested Parties

From:               DCCC Communications

RE:                  TX 23-The Most Devastating Republican Recruitment Failure of the Cycle So Far

The filing deadline has closed in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, leaving Republicans without a viable general election candidate and setting the stage for an expensive and divisive primary, capping off one of the most devastating Republican recruitment failures of the 2014 election cycle thus far.  At the start of the cycle, TX-23 was at the top of national Republicans target lists and their failure to find an electable candidate leaves a big whole in their national plan.

Republicans have openly acknowledged the weakness of all of their candidates – with the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee begging anyone else they can find to run.

After the current candidates entered the race, Roll Call reported: “The National Republican Congressional Committee is still recruiting in the district, according to a knowledgeable source,” while The National Journal reported “the NRCC has checked out Rick Perry ally Rolando Pablos (R), among others.”

But with top-tier potential recruits refusing to run on their party’s brand of government shutdowns and dysfunction, Republicans are now left with three unelectable re-treads.


For months, national Republicans have been looking for anyone besides former Congressman Quico Canseco, Will Hurd and Robert Lowry to run for this seat – and with good reason: all three are seriously flawed, unelectable candidates.

Canseco already lost his campaign against Representative Gallego, prompting the San Antonio Express News to write now that Canseco “runs for Congress like an orca chases a halibut — just 'cause it's there and it tastes good.”

But what’s really made Canseco so repulsive to Texans in this border, military heavy district is his record: Canseco opposes the DREAM Act, said comprehensive immigration reform “doesn’t work,” and voted for sequestration that caused unpaid furloughs and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost wages for defense employees .  If that wasn’t bad enough, Canseco didn’t even pay his taxes, although he voted for the Republican budget that raised taxes on middle class families  and ends the Medicare guarantee.  That’s why it’s no surprise that even Republicans are calling Canseco a “party parrot” and a “useful idiot.”

As for Hurd and Lowry? Lowry is a Ron Paul acolyte who is supported by “Tea Party activists,” and doesn’t believe the government should regulate drugs, while Hurd already lost to Canseco in a primary before.


The 2010 Republican Primary between Hurd, Lowry and Canseco was the definition of a brutal, intra-party brawl – and now that Republicans have failed to clear the field this year is shaping up to be more of the same.

As an example of how viciously these Republicans have battled each other before, remember that during the primary Republicans said Hurd’s “Anglo-sounding name…in a district that’s 60 percent Hispanic" makes his election unlikely, while Canseco called Hurd an “outsider,” adding “The district isn’t cut for an Anglo to win.”

Now, this primary grudge match will drain all three candidates of resources, divide them even further against each other, and force the candidates to align themselves even closer with the fringe of their party responsible for the government shutdown.

In Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, Republicans have suffered one of their greatest recruitment failures thus far of the 2014 cycle and are now stuck with three last choice, unelectable candidates who are set to begin another expensive, divisive intra-party slugfest. Meanwhile, Representative Pete Gallego has earned numerous accomplishments to burnish his record as a bipartisan, results oriented problem solver, and the Republican’s dramatic recruitment failure in this pivotal district makes Representative Gallego’s re-election even more likely.