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Republican Mayra Flores flips Texas House district red in special election

Republican Mayra Flores is projected to win a special election in Texas’ 34th Congressional District, flipping a House seat after Rep. Filemon Vela, who held the seat for nearly 10 years, resigned in March and vacated the seat.

Flores, who had 51% of the vote to Democratic candidate Dan Sanchez’ 43% when the Associated Press called the race, will become the first Mexican-born congresswoman to serve in the House. Her family moved to the United States when she was six years old.

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. 

Ahead of the election, the two front runners in the race for a short term on Capitol Hill were Sanchez, a former Cameron County commissioner, a Democrat, and healthcare worker Flores, a Republican who outspent Sanchez and gained steam in the race for the seat that has been vacant for more than two months.

Sanchez, a pro-life Democrat who ran in the election, was largely outspent by Flores and did not receive much support on a national level. Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), despite its overwhelming support for abortion, forked out thousands of dollars in an ad partnership with Sanchez.

Dan Sanchez is a Democratic candidate in the special election for the 34th Congressional District of Texas

During a May 31 forum featured on Facebook with Futuro RGV, Sanchez said he is a Catholic and made it clear that he is pro-life “across the board.” Despite endorsements from Vela and Gonzalez, Flores, who received an endorsement from the Right to Life, aimed to receive support from several of the more moderate voters in the heavily Hispanic district.

Aside from the special election race, Flores, a 2019 graduate from South Texas College who came out on top in a four-way GOP primary race in March, earned an endorsement from Gov. Greg Abbott and will face Gonzalez in a November general election to represent the newly redrawn 34th Congressional District.

Mayra Flores

Juana Cantu-Cabrera, another Republican candidate in the special election race on Tuesday, was defeated by Flores in the GOP primary in March after she garnered only 7% of the vote.

Vela resigned in March to take on a position with Akin Gump, a prominent law and lobbying firm, and early voting for the special election began on May 31.

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