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Campaign Roundup: The Week's Political News

With state Rep. J.M. Lozano of Kingsville switching to the Republican Party, former Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles, D-Alice, announced for the House District 43 race.

J.M. Lozano

With fresh ink on the news that state Rep. J.M. Lozano of Kingsville is switching to the Republican Party, former Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles, D-Alice, announced she will be in the House District 43 race. That's a swing district that voted, on average, for Democrats in 2008 and for Republicans in 2010. Lozano was recruited by Democrats in 2010 to knock off one of their own — Tara Rios Ybarra of South Padre Island — in the primary. Now the people who recruited him will be attacking him and the people he opposed will be backing him. Toureilles fell to Rep. Jose Aliseda, R-Beeville, in the 2010 general election; he's giving up his seat to run for local office, and would otherwise have been paired with Lozano. In an earlier map drawn by the courts and opposed by the Republicans, Lozano was running as an unopposed Democrat.

• Former Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, says he will move and challenge Republican Dee Margo in HD-78. That's a rematch of the 2010 race won by Margo and although the district has been redrawn, it's still a swing seat that could go to either a Democrat or a Republican. Moody's decision takes some heat off of state Rep. Marisa Marquez, a Democrat whose district includes Moody's home. Before he decided to move and challenge Margo, he was thinking about running in her district.

• Rep. Ken Legler, R-Pasadena, won't seek re-election to a seat that, after redistricting, is more likely to elect a Democrat than a Republican. In a press release, he cited a remapping that breaks Pasadena into four pieces.

• After a lot of speculation, Rep. Todd Smith, R-Euless, says he will, in fact, run for Texas Senate in an open seat where he'll face fellow Republican Reps. Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills and Rodney Anderson of Grand Prairie.

• State Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, is in the Congressional District 33 race now that that new district in Dallas and Tarrant counties is on the map. He will face former Rep. Domingo Garcia, D-Dallas, who was deeply involved in the redistricting litigation that resulted in that district being drawn; The Dallas Morning News reported Garcia will announce on Thursday. Garcia's old nemesis, state Rep. Roberto Alonzo, is backing former Dallas City Council member Steve Salazar.

• Now that Congressional District 25 is back — that's the district U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, is moving out of — the candidates are back, too. Former Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams is in. Chad Wilbanks, who has worked for years as a Republican political consultant, is in. The court's version of the district is just like the Legislature, stretching from south of Austin all the way north to the Tarrant County border.

• State Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, who is hoping to stay out of a primary with former colleague Ciro Rodriguez, is pulling together lists of San Antonio bigwigs who support him. Gallego has filed to run in Congressional District 23, where San Antonio Republican Francisco "Quico" Canseco is the incumbent. Rodriguez hasn't filed. Gallego's latest list includes almost two dozen activists; an earlier list had several state House members and other luminaries among 123 endorsers from around the district. Rodriguez was in the Texas House, then served in Congress, most recently losing his seat in 2010 to Canseco.

• Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman picked up an endorsement from the Texas Association of Realtors.

• Doug Blatt dropped out of the Congressional District 22 race and endorsed K.P. George in that Democratic primary.

• Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, got a re-election endorsement from the NRA and the Texas State Rifle Association.

• Former state Rep. Solomon Ortiz Jr., D-Corpus Christi, won't run this time after all. Instead, he's endorsing former Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, in the House District 34 race. On the Republican side, two Corpus incumbents — Raul Torres and Connie Scott — are paired. It's a swing district that leaned to the Democrats in recent elections.

• Miriam Martinez, D-Edinburg, is moving her candidacy to HD-41 from HD-40 — the sort of move you'll see all over the state as candidates adjust to the new political maps issued by the federal courts. Both are Democratic districts, but HD-41 is closer to being a swing district than the other.

• After those maps came out, this announcement came in: Michael Pruneda of Pharr won't run for the Texas House after all, but isn't ruling out a future run.

• As candidates file, we'll be updating the election brackets, which you can find here. Be warned: They're in transition between the maps that were in place when candidates filed the first time, late last year, and now. As the picture from the parties clears, the brackets will clear, too.

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