Texas' 27th Congressional District, created in the 1982 reapportionment of the House, was drawn to elect a Hispanic Democrat. And ever since 1982, voters in the district, centered around Corpus Christi and extending to the Mexican border at Brownsville, have elected Solomon Ortiz. Often with 60 percent of the vote.
That streak ends at 14 elections. Yesterday, Ortiz conceded defeat to Blake Farenthold, a Republican first-time candidate who was not expected to win.
The margin? About 650 votes.
Farenthold's victory gives the GOP a net gain of 62 seats, the biggest shift for any party since 1948. And it's the third Texas Democrat to lose his seat this year, joining Chet Edwards (17th CD) and Ciro Rodriguez (23rd CD). But it was the biggest surprise.
Farenthold's grandmother, Frances "Sissy" Farenthold, unsuccessfully sought the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1972 and 1974.
There are still four House races yet to be called: Calif. 11, where Rep. Jerry McNerney (D) leads GOP challenger David Harmer by about 1,700 votes; Calif. 20, where Rep. Jim Costa's (D) lead over Andy Vidak has increased to about 2,700 votes; N.Y. 01, where Rep. Tim Bishop (D) is perhaps a dozen votes up over Randy Altschuler; and N.Y. 25, where Rep. Dan Maffei (D) is trailing GOP challenger Ann Marie Buerkle by about 560 votes.