By Brian Chasnoff
Before Democratic state Rep. Joaquín Castro of San Antonio declared he would run in a contested new congressional district that stretches like Silly Putty from downtown to Austin, he placed a strategic call to a member of the rival party in control of its shifting boundaries.
State Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, knew Castro as an ideologically distant yet collegial member of the House.
Castro “asked me to help with the (redistricting) chairman, Burt Solomons, in dealing with adding some Hispanic precincts,” Larson said, “so it’s more likely that the person who wins the district would come from Bexar County.”
In its cautious calculation, the call epitomized a skill that Castro, 36, has honed over five terms serving in the minority party. Although less conspicuous than some, Castro has revealed himself, colleagues say, as a cunning legislator with an ability to forge relationships that he uses to score coups for his constituency – and for himself.