Solomon P. Ortiz

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Solomon Ortiz
File:Solomon Ortiz 111th congressional portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 27th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by None (District Created After 1980 Census)
Succeeded by Blake Farenthold
Personal details
Born (1937-06-03) June 3, 1937 (age 81)
Robstown, Texas
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Divorced
Residence Corpus Christi, Texas
Alma mater Del Mar College
Occupation Politician, Law Enforcement
Religion Methodist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1960-1962

Solomon Porfirio Ortiz (born June 3, 1937) is the former U.S. Representative for Texas's 27th congressional district, based in Corpus Christi, serving from 1983 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. In 2010, Ortiz was defeated by Republican challenger Blake Farenthold.[1][2] Ortiz's son, Solomon Ortiz, Jr., is a former state Representative.

Early life, education, and business career

Solomon Ortiz was born in Robstown, Nueces County, Texas; his family had immigrated from Mexico.[3] As a boy, he held several odd jobs, including working as a shoeshiner and an ink fogger for The Robstown Record's letter press. Ortiz befriended, and became fascinated with, law enforcement officers.[4] He attended Robstown High School until the age of 19, when he dropped out after his father's death to help support his family.

Ortiz joined the United States Army in 1960, serving two years and earning his GED. He received basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, and served a tour of duty in Verdun and Vitry-le-François, France. Expressing his interest in law enforcement, Ortiz was reassigned to the 61st Military Police Company Criminal Investigation Office and received advanced military police training at Fort Gordon, Georgia.[4]

After returning to South Texas, Ortiz worked for three years as an insurance agent.

Early political career

In 1964, he was urged by friends to run for Nueces County Constable and was elected in 1965, defeating the incumbent in a runoff election.[5] He was elected to the County Commissioners Court of Nueces County in 1969; the first Hispanic to serve in that capacity. He remained in that position until 1976, when he was elected County Sheriff, another first for a Hispanic in Nueces County.

U.S. House of Representatives


When the 27th District was created in 1982, Ortiz ran for the seat on a platform of jobs incentives and attention to education.[5] He won the Democratic primary run-off election with 52% of the vote,[6] defeating Republican State Representative Joe Salem.[7] In the general election, he won with 64% of the vote.[8]

He won re-election thirteen times, dipping below 60% of the vote only four times before 2010. His lowest winning percentage was in 1992 when he defeated Republican Jay Kimbrough[9] 55%-43%.[10]


On November 2, election night, Ortiz appeared to have lost to the Republican challenger, Blake Farenthold, but Ortiz requested a recount.[2] Ortiz conceded after the November 22 recount. Farenthold narrowly defeated him 47.8%-47.1%, by a margin of just 770 votes. While Ortiz had won four of the district's six counties, he lost the two northernmost counties, Nueces and San Patricio.[11]


Ortiz is a Democratic moderate. He is socially conservative but economically liberal. For example, he is pro-life, but usually voted with his party on economic issues.

Committee assignments

111th Congress
Previous committees

In 1983, as a freshman congressman, he was assigned to the U.S. Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control.[12] In 1993, Ortiz was named chairman of a House subcommittee that oversees the Gulf of Mexico.[13]


  1. Ortiz-Farenthold recount expected next week The Brownsville Herald, November 12, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Dem Rep. Ortiz to seek re-count in S. Texas race". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 9 November 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "ORTIZ, Solomon P. - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 5 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "U.S. Representative Solomon P. Ortiz : About Me". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 5 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Hispanic Americans in Congress -- Ortiz". Retrieved 5 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "". Retrieved 2014-08-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "HOME | Corpus Christi, TX | Corpus Christi Caller-Times". 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2014-08-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "". Retrieved 2014-08-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Martin, Gary. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "". Retrieved 2014-08-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "". Retrieved 2014-08-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
District created after 1980 census
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 27th congressional district

Succeeded by
Blake Farenthold