CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Not many people are familiar with Ricardo De La Fuente, but he had enough people vote for him Tuesday to win the Democratic Party's nomination for the District 27 congressional race.
As we've reported, De La Fuente doesn't live in District 27. He currently lives in the San Diego, Calif., area, but he said he's familiar with the 27th because his family owns property in Victoria. He added that many of the issues facing this district are the same issues districts nationwide face, as well.
So, what happens next?
“A lot of it is going to depend on if he will stay in the race," said KRIS Communications Political Analyst Dr. David Smith. "Will he come here and campaign, and how effective he can be.”
Speaking to KRIS 6 News by phone Wednesday, De La Fuente said he will stay in the race, but why did a California entrepreneur run in South Texas? He said the lack of a Latino candidate drew him here.
“If there had been a Latino candidate, I would not have had to come from out of state to run,” said De La Fuente.
Not only did De La Fuente come from California, he also ran there; but after failing to advance to a run off in California’s 21st Congressional District, De La Fuente said he's now focused on South Texas. That means spending time in the district.
“I'll be going around the district talking to voters, knocking on doors, and trying to get more informed,” De La Fuente said.
Local democratic leaders still haven't met De La Fuente, but say now that he's the nominee, he has their support.
“Once we have all our candidates, then our job is to get Democrats out to vote for Democrats,” said Coretta Graham, Nueces Co. Democratic Party Chair.
Election law says De La Fuente must be a resident by the day before Election Day. He said he plans to establish residency in the district long before that.
For now, De La Fuente said he plans to meet with local party officials soon and hit the campaign trail. His goal is to shift the 27th from red to blue.
“We have to do a lot of work, and hopefully we can flip the district,” said De La Fuente. “If we do, we're going to make history.”