When Jeff Rotkoff took over Pete Gallego’s congressional campaign two months ago, things looked slightly grim.
Gallego, a well-regarded Democratic state representative from Alpine, had outspent his chief primary rival, former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, by nearly nine to one, yet finished well behind Rodriguez in the primary. Lonny Paris, the brash New Yorker who had managed Gallego’s primary campaign, abruptly exited after the disappointing showing. John Bustamante, the third candidate in the race, endorsed Rodriguez in the runoff, and the widespread assumption was that Rodriguez’s intense South Side following would turn out for him in the runoff in disproportionately big numbers. Even the many local Democrats who preferred Gallego fretted about what they viewed as the unfocused nature of his campaign.
Rotkoff, a veteran Austin Democratic consultant with close ties to combative, deep-pocketed trial lawyer Steve Mostyn, says he saw no cause for alarm.