Democrats want South Texas back.
The U.S. House Democratic campaign arm plans to dump funds into Texas’ 15th congressional district this election cycle in a bid to reclaim the most competitive seat in the state, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will announce Monday. The seat had long been a Democratic stronghold until U.S. Rep. Monica De La Cruz, R-Edinburg, won the district in last year’s midterm election. The race saw a Republican spending frenzy and was a critical win for the party, which has been eager to make inroads with the district’s majority Latino population.
The strategy is a shift from last year, when national party groups essentially abandoned the district to the fury of local and state Democrats. Groups like the DCCC asserted they needed to prioritize limited resources to defend incumbents also in competitive races, including Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, who switched districts out of the 15th to the neighboring 34th last year.
The district snakes from the eastern exurbs of San Antonio down to McAllen on the Mexican border.
The loss of the 15th district was a bitter pill for Democrats to swallow. It was the first time in the district’s history a Republican won the seat and lent ballast to Republican claims that their message resonated with the culturally conservative Hispanic voters of the region.
Democrats were still able to hold off Republicans from netting any new seats in South Texas, and Democrats asserted they only lost the 15th district because its boundaries were redrawn in the 2021 redistricting to include more conservative areas north of its population core in McAllen. But Republicans managed to close margins in the traditionally Democratic areas of Hidalgo County, indicating the days of Democrats sitting pretty in the region might be over.
The optimistic take on how Republicans did in that part of the state last year is that it was an overall mediocre-at-best turnout year for Dems, which despite the overperformance of Dems in some critical races was the case nationwide as well. The test for that hypothesis will be the next election. We know that there are very few real opportunities for flips in this map, at least at this time. It’s still weird to not see CD23 on such a list. Could always be added later, if Republicans take out their incumbent in a nasty primary. For now, at least we haven’t been written off altogether. NBC News has more.