Republican Mayra Flores Flips Texas US House Seat in Special Election

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Latinos come out strong for Republican candidate in the traditionally blue Rio Grande Valley

SAN BENITO, Texas—Republican Mayra Flores won the special election to fill the vacant Texas Congressional District 34 seat on June 14, flipping a heavily Hispanic district to the Republicans.

“I’m forever grateful,” Flores said in a victory speech on June 14, her voice breaking with emotion. “For 100 years we have been taken for granted.”

The victory proves that Republicans have made significant inroads in the heavily Hispanic Rio Grande Valley, which Democrats have dominated for decades.

With more than 95 percent of the votes counted at 11:09 p.m. ET, Flores received 51 percent of the vote, according to Decision Desk HQ. Democrat rival Dan Sanchez received 43.3 percent of the vote.

Flores becomes the first Mexican-born woman to serve in Congress. She thanked God first, her family, and workers for her success.

Flores, a legal immigrant from Mexico married to a Border Patrol officer, pushed the idea that Democrats have taken Latinos for granted. She ran as a pro-life and pro-Second Amendment candidate, blaming Democrats for soaring food and gas prices.

The winner will replace former Congressman Filemon Vela (D-Texas), who resigned this spring to work for Akin Gump, a Washington law and lobbying firm.

Republicans at the national level have committed money and effort to the race, believing that South Texas Latinos also share conservatives’ concerns about border security and the economy.

The opportunity to break the South Texas blue barrier has emboldened Republicans, who aim to flip the region red and regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

At the state level, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Texas GOP chair Matt Rinaldi endorsed Flores. Democrats Vila and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) backed Sanchez, an attorney and former Cameron County commissioner. Sanchez campaigned as a pro-life Democrat who wants to focus on bringing jobs and better health care to the region. Both Flores and Sanchez are of Harlingen.

By Darlene McCormick Sanchez

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