Republican Francisco "Quico" Canseco is mounting his first defense of the seat he won two years ago from Ciro Rodriguez. The Democrats want to put this massive district back in the blue column, and State Representative Pete Gallego of Alpine is their nominee.
The 23rd Congressional District is seen as Republican-leaning and is massive – starting in San Antonio and reaching all the way west just shy of El Paso, stretching hundreds of miles along the Texas-Mexico border.
Republicans were careful when they redrew the district not to bring down the district’s Hispanic percentage in order to avoid violating the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voters, but craftily switched out high-voting Democratic Hispanic areas with areas that have lower turnout.
The Biggest Issue(s) in the District
Canseco is a lawyer, former banker and land developer, and won the district by 7,000 votes two years ago; political watchers say the district remains competitive and could go back to the Democrats.
"Jobs and the economy, that's the top concern," said Canseco. "As you know, this economy is in very bad shape. We have very meager job creation in this country and even though Texas is doing a little bit better than other states, it affects us down here. We've got a lot of people without employment. We've got some pockets that are doing very well like in the Permian Basin and in the Eagle Ford Shale, where there are a lot of jobs, but at the same time it is reflected in the economy and the sluggish economy that we have."
State Representative Pete Gallego of Alpine beat former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez in the hard fought democratic primary to challenge Canseco.
"I think the big issues that resonate, not only in San Antonio, but across the district are pretty much the same," said Gallego. "Medicare and Medicaid are very important topics - with respect to the elderly, obviously Medicare and social security as well. Veterans and veteran's benefits are a huge topic of conversation. Jobs and the economy, and of course education; people with kids want to make sure their kids have the opportunity to go to school and go on to college and make their lives better."
Listen to the full show to hear each candidate's stance on the federal budget, the national debt, entitlements, and more.
Early voting is already underway and ends Nov. 2 – Election Day is Nov. 6.