While Democratic candidate Ciro Rodriguez was described in flattering fashion as "a Democrat from the working-class streets of south San Antonio" speaking to voters "in flawless Spanish," his Republican opponent Francisco Canseco got tagged with the "conservative" label, and seen as being buoyed by "white conservatives" who were "angry" at Obama and federal spending. Canseco, instead of being portrayed as making an argument for limited-government, was caricatured as having "repeated the Republican mantra that only tax cuts and deregulation can create jobs."
Representative Ciro D. Rodriguez, a Democrat from the working-class streets of south San Antonio, was buttonholing voters outside a library where early polling was being held, asking them for support in flawless Spanish.
Hispanic Democrats usually have the upper hand in the Rio Grande Valley, but this year Republicans are backing a conservative Hispanic businessman, Francisco Canseco, who they hope will split the Latino vote and carry the banner for white conservatives angry at President Obama's economic and health care policies.
Mr. Canseco, a wealthy lawyer and developer who has allied himself with the antitax movement known as the Tea Party, has been buoyed in early voting by heavy turnout in Republican suburbs, where anger over spending in Washington is high.
Mr. Rodriguez, a veteran Democrat who has represented two districts here, has found himself fighting for his political life, struggling to wake up his working-class base and get them to the polls.
A banker and real estate developer from Laredo who is making his third run for Congress, Mr. Canseco, 61, has railed about the evils of deficit spending, repeated the Republican mantra that only tax cuts and deregulation can create jobs and promised to preserve the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. "We need to get government out of the hair of business," he said in an interview. "It should not be the government running the economy."
On the stump, Mr. Rodriguez, who is 63, finds himself on the defensive. At a get-out-the-vote event this week, he tried to remind voters that much of the national debt resulted from former President George W. Bush's decision to borrow money to fight two wars while cutting taxes for the wealthy. He pointed out that he voted against the Wall Street bailout. He also defended the health care bill, arguing that the mandate to give insurance to everyone would save Texans money because they currently pay for the care of the indigent through property taxes.
McKinley last made Times Watch in September with his consistent cheerleading  for Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White, filing stories with headlines like "Economy Creates an Opening for Democrat in Texas Race for Governor." But despite the confidence displayed by McKinley, White appears well on his way to defeat .
You can follow Times Watch on Twitter .