By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) — Republican Mayra Flores won the special election in Texas’ 34th Congressional district with nearly 51% of the vote, defeating Democrat Dan Sanchez by roughly seven percentage points, according to unofficial results.
She’s the first Mexican-born woman and the first Republican to represent the Rio Grande Valley in Texas since Reconstruction.
“This historic win will bring back God to the halls of Congress,” Ms. Flores said after her win. “This win is for the people who were ignored for so long! This is a message that the establishment will no longer be tolerated! We have officially started the red wave!!”
Ms. Flores is one of four Latina Republican women hoping to flip south Texas red. Her race was seen as a bellweather for the region in which illegal immigration is impacting residents, who have increasingly voted Republican in the last two elections.
The seat was vacant after longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela Jr. resigned earlier this year.
The special election decided who represents the district for the remainder of Rep. Vela’s term, which ends in January.
November’s regular election will determine who serves the new 34th district beginning in January for the next two years.
Ms. Flores, who outspent Mr. Sanchez by a ratio of 16 to 1, with money pouring in from Republican donors, is running again in November as the incumbent in the new district. She’s running against another incumbent, U.S. Rep. Vincente Gonzalez, who was first elected to the 15th Congressional District. Because of redistricting, he’s running for re-election in the 34th district.
Wife to a Border Patrol agent, Ms. Flores campaigned on a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-law enforcement platform that prioritizes border security and legal immigration. Rep. Gonzalez, who supports President Joe Biden’s agenda on a range of issues and is pro-choice, will face a tough race against Ms. Flores.
“Mayra Flores just beat a Democrat to win an open seat for Congress in an historically Democrat district in South Texas,” Gov. Greg Abbott said. “Congress just got more Republican. Texas just got more red. The future is looking bright red in Texas.”
Mr. Sanchez conceded the race in a district that is 85% Hispanic.