Texas's 23rd congressional district

Texas's 23rd congressional district stretches across the southwestern portion of Texas. It is a majority Hispanic district and has been represented by Republican Tony Gonzales since 2021.

Texas's 23rd congressional district
Texas's 23rd congressional district since January 3, 2013
  Tony Gonzales
RSan Antonio
  • 78.09% urban[1]
  • 21.91% rural
Population (2019)786,712[2]
Median household
Cook PVIR+1[3]

Election results from statewide races

Year U.S. President U.S. Senator Governor
2004 Bush (R): 57 - 43%
2008 Obama (D): 51 - 48% Cornyn (R): 50 - 47.7%
2012 Romney (R): 51 – 48% Cruz (R): 51.7 – 45.3%
2016 Clinton (D): 50 – 46%
2018 O'Rourke (D): 51.3 – 47.8%[4] Abbott (R): 52.9 – 45.7%
2020 Trump (R): 50.2 – 48.4%


The district runs along the majority of Texas's border with Mexico, just north of the Rio Grande. It stretches from western San Antonio to just outside El Paso, and while it encompasses numerous county seats and a few towns of regional economic importance, the district is predominantly rural. It is very difficult to campaign in due to its large size and few unifying influences, and the population density is one of the lowest of any congressional district. Major economic activities in the district include farming, ranching, oil and mineral extraction, recreation, manufacturing, and tourism, as it encompasses all of Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park.


According to the APM Research Lab's Voter Profile Tools (featuring the U.S. Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey), the district contained about 511,000 potential voters (citizens, age 18+). Of these, 64% are Latino, while 29% are White. One in ten potential voters were born outside of the U.S., now naturalized citizens. Median income among households (with one or more potential voter) in the district is about $61,800, while 11% of households live below the poverty line. As for the educational attainment of potential voters in the district, 17% of those 25 and older have not earned a high school degree, while 23% hold a bachelor's or higher degree.

Election results

Elections from 1967 to 1992

This district was created in 1967, following passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In addition, it followed the case of Wesberry v. Sanders, resulting in Texas's previous congressional map being tossed out. Democrats held the district until 1993.

Elections from 1992 to 2002

Following the 1990 census, in 1992, the Texas Legislature created the new 28th district, mostly from the eastern portion of the 23rd. In the process, the legislature left a heavily Republican section of western San Antonio in the 23rd. Republican Henry Bonilla beat 4-term incumbent Albert Bustamante to take the seat in 1992.

Although the 23rd leaned slightly Democratic on paper, Bonilla had a very conservative voting record. Largely because of his popularity in San Antonio, he did not face a credible challenger until 2002, when the former Democratic Texas Secretary of State, Henry Cuellar, came within 2 points of unseating him.

2004 election

During the 2003 Texas redistricting, the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature shifted most of Laredo, which had been one of the bases of the 23rd from the beginning, into the 28th district. Several heavily Republican suburbs in the Texas Hill Country north of San Antonio were shifted into the 23rd district, all but ensuring Bonilla of a seventh term.

2004 Texas's 23rd congressional district election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Henry Bonilla (incumbent) 170,716 69.3 +17.7
Democratic Joe Sullivan 72,480 29.4 -17.8
Libertarian Nazirite Perez 3,307 1.3 +0.6
Majority 98,236 39.9
Turnout 246,503
Republican hold Swing +17.8

2006 election

On June 28, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court, in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry ruled that the 23rd district violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The case turned on the fact that the 23rd district was a protected majority-Hispanic district. If the 23rd were redrawn to put Hispanics in a minority, a new majority-Hispanic district had to be created. Although Hispanics made up 55 percent of the old 23rd's population, they comprised only 46 percent of the new 23rd's voting-age U.S. citizen population. Therefore, the Court said, the new 23rd was not a true majority-minority district. The Court found that the new Austin-to-McAllen 25th district was not compact enough to be an acceptable replacement. The Court ruled that the legislature had violated the rights of Hispanic voters.

As a result, on August 4, 2006, a three-judge panel announced replacement district boundaries for the 2006 election in the 23rd district. Due to the 23rd's size, nearly every district along the El Paso-San Antonio corridor had to be redrawn as well.

In the change, the new 23rd lost many of the heavily Republican areas given to it in 2003, as well as the rest of Laredo. It received a large portion of south San Antonio, which was heavily Democratic. Four other districts were affected: the 28th (represented by Democrat Henry Cuellar), 25th (Democrat Lloyd Doggett), 15th (Democrat Ruben Hinojosa) and 21st (Republican Lamar S. Smith). As a result, on November 7, 2006 (the day of the general election), these five districts held open primaries, called a "jungle primary." If no candidate were to receive as much as 50% of the vote, a runoff election in December would decide the seat.[5]

In the 23rd, the incumbent Bonilla had two significant opponents, both Democrats: the Vietnam War veteran Rick Bolanos and Ciro Rodriguez, the former Congressman of the 28th district. In the Spring, Bolanos won the now moot 23rd district Democratic primary. Rodriguez lost a primary challenge to Cuellar in the 28th district, which was also vacated. The redrawing placed Rodriguez's home, along with most of his old base, into the 23rd district. Other candidates in the special election were: Albert Uresti, the retired San Antonio Fire Department district chief and brother of the state Senator Carlos Uresti; Lukin Gilliland, a rancher and businessman from Alamo Heights; Adrian De Leon, the owner of a truck stop in Carrizo Springs; and August Beltran of San Antonio. Craig T. Stephens, an independent candidate, also filed to run.[6]

Rick Bolanos dropped out of the race on October 19, 2006 and endorsed fellow Democrat Lukin Gilliland.

On November 7, 2006, Henry Bonilla received significantly more votes than any of his challengers, but did not receive 50% of the votes cast. Though none of the Democratic candidates came close to Bonilla individually, as a whole the six Democratic candidates received slightly more votes than Bonilla, the only Republican candidate. However, neither party received more than 50% of the vote because of a third party candidate.

A runoff election was held on December 12, 2006 between Bonilla and Rodriguez, and Rodriguez won.[7]

2006 Texas's 23rd congressional district runoff election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ciro Rodriguez 38,247 54.32% +25.1
Republican Henry Bonilla (Incumbent) 32,165 45.68% -23.9
Majority 6,082 8.64%
Turnout 68,294
Democratic gain from Republican Swing 24.5

2010 election

The National Republican Congressional Committee targeted Texas's 23rd congressional district to try to regain it, and strongly supported the Republican campaign financially.[8] Francisco "Quico" Canseco, a San Antonio businessman, became the Republican nominee for the district after defeating Will Hurd, Robert Lowry, Joseph Mack Gould, and Michael Kueber in the Republican primary.[9] Canseco won the General Election on November 2, 2010, defeating the incumbent, and took office on January 3, 2011.[10]

2010 23rd Congressional District of Texas Elections[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Quico Canseco 74,671 49.38
Democratic Ciro Rodriguez (incumbent) 67,212 44.44
Turnout 141,883
Republican gain from Democratic Swing

2012 election

Democratic challenger Pete Gallego defeated Republican incumbent Quico Canseco in the race for Texas's 23rd district on November 6, 2012. Since 1991, Gallego had represented the 74th state house district, which is the nation's largest United States-Mexico border district.[12] At one time or another, Gallego had represented nearly all of the central portion of the congressional district.

Canseco conceded the race on November 9.[13]

2012 Texas's 23rd congressional district election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Pete Gallego 96,477 50.33
Republican Quico Canseco (incumbent) 87,255 45.52
Libertarian Jeffrey C. Blunt 5,827 3.04
Green Ed Scharf 2,099 1.09
Total votes 191,658 100

2014 election

Republican challenger Will Hurd defeated Democratic incumbent Pete Gallego in the race for Texas's 23rd district on November 4, 2014, making this the third consecutive election in which partisan control of the seat switched.

2014 Texas's 23rd congressional district election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Will Hurd 57,459 49.8
Democratic Pete Gallego (incumbent) 55,037 47.7
Libertarian Ruben Corvalan 2,933 2.5
Total votes 115,429 100

2016 election

Republican incumbent Will Hurd defeated Democratic challenger Pete Gallego in the race for Texas's 23rd district on November 8, 2016.

2016 Texas's 23rd congressional district election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Will Hurd (incumbent) 110,577 48.3
Democratic Pete Gallego 107,526 47.0
Libertarian Ruben Corvalan 10,862 4.7
Total votes 228,965 100

2018 election

Republican incumbent Will Hurd won a close election for a third consecutive time, defeating newcomer Gina Ortiz Jones by a margin of fewer than 1,000 votes on November 6, 2018.

Texas's 23rd congressional district, 2018[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Will Hurd (incumbent) 103,285 49.2
Democratic Gina Ortiz Jones 102,359 48.7
Libertarian Ruben Corvalan 4,425 2.1
Total votes 210,069 100.0
Republican hold

2020 election

Republican candidate Tony Gonzales won an unexpected victory over second-time candidate Gina Ortiz Jones by a margin of 4%.

2020 Texas's 23rd congressional district election[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tony Gonzales 149,395 50.6
Democratic Gina Ortiz Jones 137,693 46.6
Libertarian Beto Villela 8,369 2.8
Total votes 295,457 100
Republican hold

List of members representing the district

Member Party Years Cong
District home Electoral history District location
District created January 3, 1967

Abraham Kazen Jr.
Democratic January 3, 1967 –
January 3, 1985
Laredo [data unknown/missing]
Lost renomination.
[data unknown/missing]
[data unknown/missing]
[data unknown/missing]

Albert Bustamante
Democratic January 3, 1985 –
January 3, 1993
San Antonio [data unknown/missing]
Lost re-election.

Henry Bonilla
Republican January 3, 1993 –
January 3, 2007
San Antonio [data unknown/missing]
Lost re-election.
[data unknown/missing]
[data unknown/missing]

Ciro Rodriguez
Democratic January 3, 2007 –
January 3, 2011
San Antonio [data unknown/missing]
Lost re-election.

Quico Canseco
Republican January 3, 2011 –
January 3, 2013
112th San Antonio [data unknown/missing]
Lost re-election.

Pete Gallego
Democratic January 3, 2013 –
January 3, 2015
113th Alpine [data unknown/missing]
Lost re-election.

Will Hurd
Republican January 3, 2015 –
January 3, 2021
Helotes [data unknown/missing]

Tony Gonzales
Republican January 3, 2021 –
117th San Antonio [data unknown/missing]

See also


  1. Geography, US Census Bureau. "Congressional Districts Relationship Files (state-based)". www.census.gov.
  2. Center for New Media & Promotion (CNMP), US Census Bureau. "My Congressional District". www.census.gov.
  3. "Partisan Voting Index – Districts of the 115th Congress" (PDF). The Cook Political Report. April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  4. "Texas 2018 Senate and governor by Congressional District". Google Docs. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  5. "Texas Redistricting", Austin American-Statesman, 4 August 2006
  6. Matthew Spieler (August 31, 2006). "Rodriguez Drops Bid in Texas 23, But Only Briefly". Archived from the original on October 27, 2006. Retrieved September 1, 2006.
  7. [permanent dead link]
  8. "NRCC Memo Reveals 24 Democratic Targets". Roll Call. March 6, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  9. Flores, Canseco win GOP nods Politico April 14, 2010. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
  10. TX Secretary of State TX Secretary of State Election Returns November 2, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  11. "2010 General Election, Election Night Returns, Unofficial Elections Results As Of: 11/3/2010 12:14:58 PM". Texas Secretary of State. November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 22, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  12. "Democrat Takes The Texas 23rd Congressional District". KPBS. November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  13. Martin, Gary (November 9, 2012). "Canseco concedes to Gallego in District 23". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  14. "Texas Election Results". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  15. "Texas Election Results: 23rd Congressional District". New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2021.

Further reading