Political analysts changed the rating for Texas’s Thirty-Fourth Congressional District in favor of Republican Rep. Mayra Flores, snubbing Democrat Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who is also running in the district.
Analysts at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and Cook Political Report changed the House rating from a “Lean Democrat” to a “Toss Up” in the Texas district, ultimately showing that Flores has been making a mark on her congressional district as she represents them in Congress.
Flores, the district’s current representative, won the seat in a special election after former Rep. Filemon Vela (D) announced his retirement and left Congress earlier this year. The special election took place in the district’s current congressional lines and was not affected by the redistricting process. Still, she will be running under the new district lines in November.
However, the rating change ultimately hurts Gonzalez — who currently represents an adjacent district but announced he would run in Texas’s Thirty-Fourth Congressional District when Vela (D) announced his retirement. Gonzalez changed districts, hoping it would allow him to run in a safer congressional district.
The Center for Politics added commentary on the rating change:
As the campaign has shaped up, Gonzalez has had some less-than favorable headlines. In June, he suggested that, as someone born on the Texas side of the border, he is a better representative of the area — Flores criticized those remarks as nativist. Republicans are also hitting Gonzalez, who is an attorney by trade, on some of his old cases. To be fair, Flores has also had some setbacks: last month, her district director resigned over sexual misconduct allegations.
While third quarter fundraising numbers haven’t come out, Gonzalez has a cash on hand advantage, although, according to Rob Pyers’ useful expenditure sheet, outside groups are helping Flores close the gap. We should note that there has been outside spending on both sides, which is another sign that both parties view it as competitive.
We are moving TX-34 from Leans Democratic to Toss-up. While the partisanship of the district could be too much for Flores to overcome — even as the area has reddened, it still retains a clear Democratic lean — the trajectory of the race has not been good for Democrats. After redistricting concluded in the Lone Star State last year, we started this seat off as Safe Democratic.
The National Republican Congressional Committee joked that Gonzalez hurt the House Democrats’ chances of keeping the majority by losing two congressional districts.
“Vicente Gonzalez is Democrats’ worst nightmare this election cycle. He’s going to cost them not one, but two, House seats,” said NRCC spokeswoman Torunn Sinclair.
Gonzalez’s current district, Texas’s Fifteenth Congressional District, has been moved by the Center for Politics and Cook to be “Likely Republican.”
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.