Democrats are starting to fear that their weak support in South Texas is getting worse — with a special election just two weeks away — as Hispanic voters have fled to the Republican Party.
In an important prelude to the November elections, Republicans are well-positioned to flip the seat that once belonged to former Democrat Rep. Filemon Vela in the special election on June 14, putting another nail in the coffin of the Democrat majority in the House.
In recent years, the Hispanic community has been slowly moving toward the Republican party as everyday voters — especially Hispanic voters — have become increasingly frustrated with one-party Democrat rule in Washington, DC. With the Special Election coming up, a Republican organization is trying to take advantage of these gains — especially in South Texas — by dumping money and resources into these communities to get them out to vote.
Politico noted that a Republican victory in the special election would further reduce “Pelosi’s already minuscule majority and send a jolt of momentum through the GOP’s bid to turn the entire Rio Grande Valley red in the midterms.”
Democrat Rep. Vicente Gonzalez — who currently represents an adjacent district but will be running for Vela’s old seat in November — said he is “very concerned,” adding, “If we don’t keep the seat blue on June 14… it will be a tragedy. It really will be a self-inflicted tragedy.”
“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,” Gonzalez added.
With the special election closing in, national Democrats are faced with a choice between cutting their losses or pouring more money into the district. The special election will have a runoff if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote.
There are two Democrats and two Republicans running. Daniel Sanchez is the current Democrat front-runner since Gonzalez is not running in the special election but only for the full two-year term that would start next year. Mayra Flores is the Republican front-runner.
“Republicans are dying for a Latino on the border to use as a poster child to falsely spread their right-wing message to our communities,” Gonzalez added. “It would be political malpractice if our party allowed this to happen in a district that has been blue for over a century.”
The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokesperson Monica Robinson told Politico, “A Democrat will represent TX-34 in January. If Republicans spend money on a seat that is out of their reach in November, great.”
“Mayra Flores is a far-right, MAGA extremist who is completely out of touch with South Texans,” Robinson added, attacking the Republican candidate. “The DCCC is focused on winning seats in November, and we are committed to ensuring Hispanic voters get the representation they deserve when Vicente Gonzalez is elected to a full term this fall.”
On the other hand, the National Republican Congressional Committee has initiated a joint TV ad buy with the Flores campaign, spending roughly $270,000, according to Politico. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC with the backing of House Republican leadership, also announced it would be backing Flores in the special election with a $200,000 ad campaign.
“Mayra Flores is an exceptional candidate that embodies the spirit of the Rio Grande Valley,” CLF President Dan Conston told Breitbart News. “We have the opportunity to introduce her to voters and begin telling her story now, which we believe has truly unique appeal in this district.”
Flores has been airing ads for months leading up to the special election, while Sanchez reportedly does not have any ads airing. According to a video obtained by Politico, Sanchez has expressed concern about the amount of ad spend Flores and Republican-affiliated groups have been deploying in the district.
“We don’t have that kind of money to spend,” Sanchez said. “Think about what happens if Mayra loses against an unknown guy who did no media TV ads.”
“There’s no way she’ll beat Vicente. But if she wins, what’s going to happen? She’s going to be in DC, raising all kinds of crazy money,” he added.