Democrat Michelle Vallejo is running again for the 15th Congressional District, looking to flip back the one U.S. House seat in Texas that Republicans captured last year.
Vallejo made the announcement Tuesday morning in a video that criticized the GOP incumbent, U.S. Rep. Monica De La Cruz of Edinburg, on multiple issues, including Republican efforts to cut spending for social services and curtail access to abortion.
“In South Texas, Monica De La Cruz makes a lot of promises to us, la gente, but in Congress, her record tells a different story,” Vallejo said in the video.
Vallejo ran for the 15th District in 2022, when it was an open seat, and lost to De La Cruz by 9 percentage points. Redistricting had tilted the seat in favor of the GOP, but national Democrats also declined to seriously invest in Vallejo and prioritized other races. That decision led to recriminations inside the party as it sought to fend off a well-funded GOP offensive in South Texas, which ultimately produced mixed results.
Vallejo said she’s optimistic about national Democratic investments in her race, noting that both Republicans and Democrats have singled out the district as competitive.
“I’m feeling very confident about the resources that they are gearing up for Texas 15,” Vallejo said. “Both sides have targeted this seat as a battleground, and that really points to the vulnerabilities that Monica De La Cruz, as a member of Congress, right now has shown us to have.”
Vallejo ran as an unabashed progressive when she emerged as the 2022 Democratic nominee in the 15th District. She championed proposals such as a $15-per-hour minimum wage and the single-payer health care system known as Medicare for All. Vallejo narrowly defeated centrist Ruben Ramirez in the 2022 Democratic primary by only 0.2 points.
Vallejo said she would continue running on a similar slate of policy issues, including access to health care, economic development and reproductive rights. Vallejo runs a “pulga,” or flea market, started by her family, which she said gave her a unique outlook on wide swaths of her community.
Vallejo shrugged off criticism that she’s too progressive for a district that has traditionally been represented by moderate Democrats.
“I grew up here in the district. I’m a small-business owner. I grew up serving many other small businesses, and I’ve never labeled myself one thing or the other, other than being a champion of the people,” Vallejo said.
So far, no other credible Democratic candidates have stepped forward to run for the 15th District in 2024.
As noted, the DCCC is in on CD15, the only district in Texas so far. I’m semi-optimistic about this – it should be competitive, hopefully more so than it was in 2022. The Republicans will certainly put a lot of money into defending this seat, so we’ll see how serious the DCCC is, and how well Vallejo can do raising funds when she’s a featured player. I look forward to her July finance report.