Macias UNSEATS toller Carter Casteel by 45 votes!

UNBELIEVABLE FOLKS! Thanks to all of your efforts, to make phone calls, work the polls, and spread the word, we just won some serious political clout! Read the story in the Herald-Zeitung below. They got the number of votes wrong, it was actually 45 votes according to the Secretary of State’s web site. EVERY SINGLE VOTE MATTERED! The anti-incumbent winds are blowing (House Dist. 9, 72, 73, 94, 101 to name a few) and it doesn’t bode well for Rick Perry. Incumbent Senator Frank Madla was also sent home and so was another toller, Karen Sonleitner up in Austin! I’m elated and exhausted. More to come…

Macias defeats Casteel by 44 votes

By Leigh Jones — The Herald-Zeitung — Published March 08, 2006

Carter Casteel lost her bid for re-election to the District 73 Texas House seat Tuesday by an unbelievably thin 44-vote margin.

After watching her early lead slowly erode throughout the evening, Casteel conceded the race at about 10:45 p.m.

Her announcement, made to roughly 50 die-hard supporters who stayed by her side until the end, was met with stunned silence.

Not 20 minutes before, the crowd on the Wurstfest grounds had breathed a collective sigh of relief, thinking their candidate had squeaked in under the wire.

But Casteel later gathered her family around her and comforted them and her supporters with motherly wisdom.

“It’s fine. Shush, it’s fine,” she said, putting her arms around as many of them as she could. “We might have lost tonight, but we are winners for two reasons. First, we did not break the 9th Commandment — do not lie. And secondly, our family for the first time in four years will be able to spend more time together.”

While Casteel was willing to call the race, the apparent winner was not.

Reached on his cell phone, Macias would not say anything about the outcome.

“I have no comment at this time, thank you,” was all he would tell the Herald-Zeitung at about 11 p.m.

Macias campaign coordinate Candace Turitto later called to say she had heard of Casteel’s concession but also declined to comment.

Although several Casteel supporters began clamoring for a recount as soon as her concession speech was finished, the defeated incumbent was not willing to talk about it yet.

“I never make those kind of decisions late at night on an empty stomach,” she said with a smile.

Casteel might have been hesitant to commit to redoing Tuesday’s count, but she wasted no time making a pronouncement about how important her loss was to the entire state.

“What this means is that no representative can take an independent vote because someone with money might take issue with it,” she said. “That’s the tough part. I’ll be all right, but this race has changed Texas politics.”

Casteel and many Texas political observers think the two-term legislator was targeted by San Antonio-area physician James Leininger for elimination from office because of her vote against a school voucher bill he had his heart set on seeing passed during the last regular session in 2005.

Through individual donations and money spent with the Texas Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, Leininger poured $786,096.36 into Macias’ bid to send Casteel home.

The money bought hundreds of minutes of television commercials and sent dozens of printed mail pieces into district residents’ mailboxes.

Casteel was able to raise $398,942.40, an amount she never thought would be required to get back to Austin.

Now that she is not planning a third term in the House, Casteel is vowing to put her energy behind efforts to help equalize the flow of money into Texas political races.

“My desire is to see that no seat is for sale. I want to make sure a school teacher’s $10 donation means as much as the millions someone else has to spend,” she said.

To her well-wishers and party faithful, Casteel offered a warning.

“Let me tell you, the Republican Party is in trouble. And we’ve got to do what we can to save it,” she said, which was greeted with a hearty chorus of “amen.”

Although she has lost the primary, Casteel still will serve in the upcoming special session Gov. Rick Perry is expected to call in April.

Macias will face a Libertarian candidate in the November general election. His opponent will be selected at the regional Libertarian convention later this month.