If Democrats in south Texas weren’t a bit sweaty from the 90-degree heat, after Tuesday night, it’s a good bet they sure are now.
Republican Mayra Flores beat Democrat Dan Sanchez in a special election to fill the vacant seat in Texas’ 34th Congressional District.
So what’s the big deal? Texas’ 34th CD is on the border with Mexico. Just four short years ago, Democrats won the district by 20 points. According to Ballotpedia, it’s the second-most heavily Latino-populated district in the country.
And it was just won by a Hispanic Republican woman.
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Because it was a special election, Flores will go on to face Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), who currently represents the neighboring 15th Congressional District, for the seat in a newly redrawn 34th district in November.
Mayra Flores election victory is significant for few reasons. She will be the first Mexican-born Congresswoman, having come to the U.S. at the age of six. But what is even more important, is that Flores has flipped a seat that sits along the southern border in the Rio Grande Valley that has not sent a Republican to Congress in 150 years.
Flores said of her victory:
“America First policies resonate with the Hispanic community and others who live in this district. For over 100 years, the Democrat Party has taken for granted the loyalty and support South Texas has given them for decades. They do nothing to earn our vote or our support. And meanwhile, President Biden has signed a record number of Executive Orders to kill Texas jobs, weaken border security, and remove protection for the unborn. Enough is enough.”
She added, “We have officially started the red wave.”
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Whether Democrats want to blame Donald Trump or something else, the tide of Hispanic support in south Texas has slowly begun to turn. In addition to Flores, two other GOP Hispanic women will be vying to fill seats in Texas border districts.
In Texas 15th district, Monica De La Cruz will be the GOP nominee for the 15th district in the fall, and Cassy Garcia will go up against longtime Democrat Congressman Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX).
Both Flores and De La Cruz have said that Democrats no longer represent traditional Hispanic values.
Flores said after her primary win back in March,
“We want to show Hispanics that this is what the Republican Party looks like. It looks just like them. We were raised to think that the Republican Party was for the rich and only white men and that’s not true. Look at us. We are the face of the party.”
De La Cruz explained why the Hispanic community may be more aligned with Republicans, saying,
“The Hispanic culture really aligns with pro-life, pro God, and pro country. Those are the values of the Republican party. Democrats have just simply gone too far to the left and towards socialism.”
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The election of Mayra Flores should make every Democrat stand up and take notice. She is filling the seat of a Congressman who resigned, therefore she will immediately slice off yet another piece of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s razor thin majority.
Democrat performance in this border district has been waning for awhile. In 2012, when Flores’ predecessor Filemon Vela ran and won, he garnered 62% of the vote. Fast forward to 2020, where Joe Biden squeaked by with just 51% of the vote.
Vicente Gonzalez did not hesitate in expressing concern for Democrats in south Texas, but nationwide. And he seemed to place part of the blame for any GOP surge on his fellow Democrats, saying:
“I’m very concerned. The Republicans are all in and they have invested heavily in the district. And this election will certainly test the commitment of the DCCC to the Rio Grande Valley, to South Texas and to Latino districts in this country. If we don’t keep the seat blue on June 14, it will be a tragedy. It really will be a self-inflicted tragedy.”
With Joe Biden’s approval rating among Hispanics at just 26%, Democrats maybe in for more self-inflicted wounds.
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