Flores wins CD34 special election


Republican Mayra Flores prevailed Tuesday in a special election for an open congressional seat in South Texas, marking a major breakthrough for Republicans eager to blaze new inroads in the historically blue region.

She beat Dan Sanchez, the leading Democrat, outright in the closely watched race and will be the first Mexican-born congresswoman. She will get to serve only until January, but Republicans heralded her win as a shot of momentum in their new South Texas offensive.

With all precincts reporting Tuesday night, Flores had 50.98% of the vote and Sanchez had 43.33%. There were two other, lesser-known candidates — Democrat Rene Coronado and Republican Juana “Janie” Cantu-Cabrera — in the race.

Sanchez is a Harlingen lawyer and former Cameron County commissioner, while Flores, a respiratory therapist, is the Republican nominee for the seat in November.


Sanchez conceded in a statement that pointed the finger at national Democrats for not doing enough to defend the seat. They had argued the race was not worth the investment.

“Based on the results, we came up short tonight despite being outspent by millions of dollars from out of state interests and the entire Republican machine,” he said. “Too many factors were against us, including little to no support from the National Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.”

The special election was called to finish the term of former U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, who resigned in March to work for the lobbying firm Akin Gump.

See here for some background. I don’t want to overreact or underreact to this result. Obviously, it’s not great – a longtime Dem seat, making the existing Dem margin that much smaller, furthering a lot of bad narratives about Dems and the 2022 election, etc etc etc. It’s also the case that this election was created in a lab to be friendly to Republicans, who had a ready-made candidate in place with money and an existing infrastructure, while Dems had to go looking for someone to run specifically as a temp. I was hoping to get this to a runoff, but nope. It is what it is, and what it is basically sucks.

It is true that Dems have done rather poorly in special elections in purple Latino districts in recent years, with HD118 in 2016 and SD19 in 2018 as Exhibits A and B. The SD19 result was for a brief minute seen as a bad sign for Dems in 2018, and we know how that turned out. Dems retook those seats, in 2020 in both cases. The new lines for CD34 are considerably more Dem-leaning than the old ones (CD15 took the brunt of that exchange), so Rep. Flores is probably also going to be a temp. Probably. It would have been nice to get some evidence of that in this race. We seem to like playing with matches, for some reason.

Not much else to say except to say once again that this is all because Filemon Vela couldn’t wait a couple of months to glom onto that cushy lobbyist gig he now has. If he had resigned in August instead of April, this election would have been in November and no one would have cared about it. He is forever invited to kiss my ass. The Observer has more.

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8 Responses to Flores wins CD34 special election

  1. Frederick says:

    OMG…doesn’t the Texas GOP see that Replacement is taking place…in Texas…in its own party.

    This is not Theory…the brownification is happening and its happening now!!!!

    And its not Great.

  2. Mainstream says:

    The support (overwhelmingly white) Republican voters gave to soon to be Congressman Wesley Hunt, over a dozen white primary opponents, must really be inconvenient for your theory that Republicans are all racists and white supremacists.

  3. Leonard says:

    Not really. That a lot of overwhelmingly white Republicans all have the same lone Black friend is pretty much par for the course.

  4. Kibitzer says:

    Wesley Hunt primary data here:

    Lenny Logic:

    Person X has lots of Republicans for friends, ergo Person X is a loner.

    A majority of Republicans in one district votes for a black candidate in their party’s primary (preferring him over 9 others), ergo Republicans in Texas have one — and only one — black friend.

    Morsel of wisdom for the day: It’s all about friends, that voting business.

    In the end (or as here, in the first round of the primary season), only one wins, so he must be a loner.


  5. Leonard says:

    I was referring to the trope “I can’t be racist, I have a Black friend” which Mainstream’s comment certainly echoes.

    And according to Wikipedia, it’s friends, not friend, so nobody needs to be lone (by which I meant “only”, not “loner”). Sorry for the confusion.


  6. Kibitzer says:


    Proposition (premise): People who won’t vote for a black candidate are racist.

    Fact 1: 34,321 Republicans voted for Wesley Hunt in the Republican primary in District 38.

    Fact 2: Wesley Hunt is black.

    Conclusion: These 34,321 Republicans in District 38 (55.3% of GOP primary voters) are NOT racist.

    To that you can add 970 more votes for Jerry Ford Sr., who also looks black.

    And we can’t say anything about the remainder because we don’t know why they voted for the respective candidates of their preference.

    Alt conclusion (doubtful): 34,321 didn’t know Wesley Hunt is black.

    Also of interest:

    The black candidate on the Dem side, Centrell Reed, got only 3,439 (16.3%) of the vote in a three-way race with a white guy with a German-sounding name (Klussmann) and a Hispanic or Latina woman (Martinez). So the black candidate got eliminated, and the white guy then won the run-off. Does this make the Dem voters in District 38 racist?

    Or just the ones who gave their vote to their “lone white friend”?

    Also consider that Democratic primary voters in District 38 gave the sole black candidate 3,439 votes and their Republican counterparts gave black candidates more than 10 times that many in the same district.

    Bottom line: Perhaps it’s not all about race in these races.
    Perhaps other candidate attributes matter.

    DATE SOURCE: Ballotpedia (link in first Kibitzer comment above). Slightly different tally numbers reported by Wikipedia here:

  7. Leonard says:

    Kibitzer, is your comment directed at me? I don’t understand where you got your premise nor how you arrived at your conclusions.

  8. Jules says:


    “The delegates also called for the repeal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was passed to end discrimination against Black Americans at the polls.”

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