If Republicans do register a historic, record-breaking tidal wave tonight, it will be because of districts like Texas 27, where longtime Rep. Solomon Ortiz has gone from congressman-for-life to fighting for his political life against an upstart, out-of-nowhere Republican challenger.
Democrat Ortiz, who has held the seat since 1983, is struggling to hold off tea party favorite Blake Farenthold in the South Texas district that runs along the coast from Corpus Christi south to the Mexican border.
On the eve of the election, political website Real Clear Politics moved the race, which was once classified “Safe Democrat” from “Leans Democrat” to “Tossup.”
Ortiz is facings an ethics investigation in the House, and Farenthold is riding a red wave in Texas that may just swamp the longtime incumbent. Texas Monthly political guru Paul Burka says Farenthold, a radio talk show host, is also poised to benefit from the presence of Republican Hispanics — including several women — on the GOP ballots in Corpus Christi.
Farenthold, who took some heat over photos taken of him and a scantily clad lingerie model, unveiled his own secret weapon in recent days: an endorsement from his grandmother, Democrat Sissy Farenthold, a former gubernatorial candidate and one of the state’s most revered politicians.
In the ad featuring her endorsement, Sissy, who almost beat out Sen. Thomas Eagleton as Sen. George McGovern’s running mate in the 1972 presidential campaign, said “We don’t always agree about everything … But there is one thing I do know. Blake is an honorable man.”