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Democrats have finally found their man to run for the U.S. Senate seat in Texas. Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, announced today that he will run for the open seat, currently held by retiring Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson.
Sanchez’ centrist, military background gives Democrats a credible candidate in deep red Texas. Democratic strategists hope that the Hispanic military commander will help the party tap the state’s growing Latino base.
Many political analysts think Democrats have a bad case of wishful thinking. The party has said before that it can compete in Texas by mobilizing minority voters, but has yet to produce results in an election. The last Democrat to win a statewide race in Texas was former Gov. Ann Richards in 1990.
Republicans appeared unfazed by Sanchez’ potential threat:
“We’ll leave it to national Democrats to crow about their latest hand-picked candidate because as any observer of Texas politics knows, we’ve heard it all before and we have no doubt this seat will remain in Republican hands,” National Republican Senate Committee communications director Brian Walsh said in a statement.
Sanchez will face the winner of a crowded GOP primary field. Several prominent Texas Republicans have thrown their hat in the ring, including Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst (the favourite), former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams, Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former state solicitor general Ted Cruz.
TBI FORECAST: Likely Republican