BROWNSVILLE, TX – An Hispanic Republican woman flipped an historically Democratic U.S. House seat in South Texas Tuesday night in a special election setting the stage for Republicans to make major strides in the mid term elections in November nationwide.
Republican Mayra Flores won Tuesday in a special election for an open congressional seat in South Texas, marking a major breakthrough for Republicans attempting to make new inroads in the historically Democratic region of Texas.
Flores beat Dan Sanchez, the leading Democrat, outright in the closely watched race and will be the first Mexican-born congresswoman.
She will get to serve only until January, but Republicans heralded her win as a shot of momentum in their new South Texas offensive.
On Tuesday night, Flores most notably carried Cameron County, the most populous county in the district and a longtime Democratic stronghold along the Mexican border. She defeated Sanchez there by about a percentage point after Biden carried the county by 13 points in 2020.
With all precincts reporting Tuesday night, Flores had 50.98% of the vote and Sanchez had 43.33%. There were two other candidates, Democrat Rene Coronado and Republican Juana “Janie” Cantu-Cabrera, in the race.
Speaking a little after 9:30 p.m., Flores declared victory and said her campaign “took no one for granted.”
“For over 100 years, we have been taken for granted,” she said at her election night party in San Benito. “I will show you what real representation looks like. I will represent all people.”
The chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, said in a statement that the race was a “referendum on Democrats’ reckless policies that created a border crisis, led to record-high inflation, and sent gas prices soaring."
Flores will finish out the remainder of Vela's term, which expires in January, and Republicans were eager to win the seat and gain new ground in the Lone Star state to represent the district that spans east of San Antonio with parts along the coast to Brownsville. As currently drawn, the 34th Congressional District will essentially be dissolved later this year after a newly redrawn map favoring current 15th Congressional District Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, the Democratic nominee for November's general election to represent the 34th District, was constructed.