Republican Mayra Flores is readying to run in a forthcoming special election in Texas’s battleground 34th Congressional District and spoke about her winnability in the race during an interview on Breitbart News Saturday.
Flores, a Mexican-born American angling to replace retiring Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX) in the election once it is scheduled, said she believes voters in her district have values that “align with the Republican Party.”
“South Texas is very conservative,” Flores said. “We are all about God, family, and country. We’re very hardworking. Our values align with the Republican Party. But you know, for so long, it’s the lack of education. A lot of people don’t know what the Republican Party stands for.”
Vela announced last week he would resign from Congress in “the coming weeks” to work for the D.C.-based law and lobbying firm Akin Gump, according to the Texas Tribune. Vela’s resignation will trigger a special election ahead of the November midterms to fill his vacancy, and Flores, who won the Republican primary for the district on March 1, is now planning to run in that election once its date is finalized.
The 34th District includes the major city of Brownsville, which, according to Pew Research, has a population that is nearly 90 percent Hispanic.
Vela has represented the district for about a decade but has won his reelection races there by an increasingly narrower gap since 2016. Likewise, while former President Donald Trump lost the district by about 22 points in 2016, he halved that and came within ten points of beating out now-President Joe Biden in 2020.
Observing the recent shift Hispanic voters have made toward the Republican Party, Flores said her campaign strategy includes continuing to aggressively educate those voters, because she believes many more are in fact Republican and “just don’t know it” yet.
“We are waking them up, and we’ve been doing this for many, many years, prior to 2020,” Flores said. “We were out there. You know, when no one believed in South Texas, I was out there, block walking, phone banking. We were doing events educating the Hispanic community. … We need to be out there investing in this community. We need to be knocking on doors, doing events, just educating the Hispanic community on the platform. If we do that, they will vote Republican. They are already Republicans. They just don’t know it.”
Flores was already campaigning to run in November against Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), who currently represents a neighboring district but decided to run in the 34th District this year because of redistricting.
Flores suggested Gonzalez — who was discovered last year to have tens of thousands of dollars in holdings with the state-owned Bank of China — as well as others, such as Vela, are fighting “for California” and “Austin” values, rather than the values of South Texas constituents. Flores, whose parents were Mexican immigrants and migrant workers, said that, by contrast, she “understand[s] their struggle.”
“I understand the needs, the real needs here and processes, and especially what’s happening at the border,” Flores said, adding that her husband works for U.S. Border Patrol.
“My husband’s a Border Patrol agent, and the constant disrespect against our Border Patrol agents is, you know, it’s against our family because our Border Patrol agents are our husbands, our wives, our neighbors,” Flores said. “They’re our familia. Our law enforcement are our family, and this constant disrespect against us, it just doesn’t represent South Texas, and we have people in Congress here in South Texas that are fighting for California values, that are, you know, fighting for Austin values and not South Texas values. And we need real representation, and I’m confident that we will win this special election and that they will see what real leadership looks like and that we will win in November.”