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Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D)
Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D)

I don't think he was on many watch lists, so this is somewhat surprising news:

Rep. Charlie Gonzalez said Friday he will not seek re-election, a decision that will end the congressional tenure of a Democratic family whose name has been synonymous with the city of San Antonio for more than half a century.

Gonzalez, who sued the state over a redistricting plan that carved downtown out of his central San Antonio congressional district, said it was not reapportionment, but the need to provide financial stability for his family that is forcing him to seek a new career.

“I still find the job hugely rewarding, but the demands pull me somewhere else,” said Gonzalez, who will forego an eighth term in office.

Gonzalez's 20th CD was made slightly redder in the new court-drawn interim plan, from 64-36 Obama under the current lines versus a 59-40 margin with the new map. In other words, it should be well out of reach for the GOP, so I believe him when he says money, not redistricting, prompted him to seek retirement.

This move should create an interesting cascade effect: Just two days ago, state Rep. Joaquin Castro was ready to run in the Democratic primary against Lloyd Doggett in the legislature's version of the 35th; the court map then handed him a revised 35th all for himself, as Doggett was set to seek re-election in the re-re-drawn 25th. Now a Castro spokesman says his boss is likely to run in the 20th instead.

In response, ex-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, who had been planning a comeback in the 23rd (where he lost last year to GOPer Quico Canseco) now says he wants to run in the 35th, adding that he's "lived in this district almost my entire life." I wouldn't expect Ciro to have the field to himself in the 35th, but if he does make the switch, that would probably make state Rep. Pete Gallego the frontrunner for the Democratic nod in the 23rd. However, attorney John Bustamante (son of ex-Rep. Albert Bustamante) is also in the race, and others could yet join.

So far, this news is the most dramatic fallout in the wake of the court's new map (even if it may not be directly attributable to it), but undoubtedly there's a whole lot more upheaval to come. Stay tuned!

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 08:11 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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