Jun 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Republicans flip South Texas House seat

Congressional candidate from Texas Mayra Flores participates in the news conference  in Washington on Tuesday, May 17.

Mayra Flores at the news conference to announce the formation of the Hispanic Leadership Trust at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington in May. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Callvia Getty Images

Republican Mayra Flores comfortably won a Democrat-held U.S. House seat in South Texas on Tuesday, according to AP.

Why it matters: Flores' victory is a boon to Republicans in a region where they have made substantial gains in recent years and are aiming to pick up more seats in November.

The backdrop: The seat was vacated in March when Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela resigned from the House to work at a lobbying firm.

By the numbers: Flores, a respiratory care practitioner, was up over Democrat Dan Sanchez, an attorney, by 8 points with 95% of precincts reporting.

  • Vela won the seat by 14 points in 2020, and by 20 points in 2018.
  • The region had a notable swing toward former President Trump between 2016 and 2020.
  • With 51% of the vote, Flores succeeded in avoiding a runoff election, which occurs in Texas if no candidate wins a majority.

Yes, but: Flores' tenure may not last longer than seven months, given that she's set to face Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) in a newly drawn district that's far more favorable to Democrats.

  • Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman said the district is seen as leaning Democratic in November given that it's a Biden+15 district.

What they're saying: In a statement to the Texas Tribune, Sanchez blamed his loss in part on having "little to no support" from national Democrats.

  • In the closing days of the campaign, the House Democrat-aligned House Majority PAC ran Spanish-language ads against Flores tying her to the Jan. 6 attack.
Go deeper